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ThE original work of Mr. Hermann Peters was a pioneer pathbreaker in 
even the prolific German historical field. It was an outgrowth of Mr. Peters' 
studies in the Germanic Museum at Nuremburg, and was pervaded by zeal 
for the reputation of the old city. This gave the style of the work a quaint 
fascination, which greatly increased its value in Germany, where intense 
interest is felt concerning Nuremburg, where so much of Germany's art, science, 
mechanical art and literature were fostered. The prominence of this quaint 
Nuremburgian patriotism in the work, while not without its charm, was a 
serious limitation and defect in a work intended for an English-speaking public. 

The revision has therefore introduced many features of especial interest 
to English-speaking pharmacists and physicians, while retaining for the most 
part the style, arrangement and illustrations of the original. 

The development of Pharmacy as a specialty of Medicine has been more 
carefully discussed in the light of researches not pursued by Mr. Peters. The 
original chapter on ** Pharmacy in the Middle Ages" has been rewritten from 
the standpoint of the researches of Gordon, Baas, Hall am and Meryon. The 
chapter on **Ancient Pharmacopoeias" and that on the "Development and 
Decline of Alchemy" have been considerably amplified, the former being 
supplemented by the results of the researches of Dr. Charles Rice, of New 
York, and other authorities. 

The additions on the subject of American pharmacy are by Dr. James G. 
Kiernan, to whom the editor is indebted for much assistance in all original 
portions of the work. W. N. 




Frontispiece, from Copper-plate by G. Keller, 1605 i 

Medicine in Symbolism. Copper-print, Sixteenth Century .' 3 

Isis 6 




Drugstore. From(H)OrtusSanitatis. Hannsen Schoensperger, 

Augsburg, i486 13 

Hippocrates 18 

iEscLEPiADES 19 

Galen 20 

Memorial of Apothecaries' Guild at Ulm, 1380 26 

Drug-store. Woodcut from the "Ars Memorativa," of Anton 

Sorg, 1470 27 

Drugstore. Woodcut from "The Art of Distilling," 1505, by 

J. Gruninger 28 

An Assortment of Drug-containers. From (H)Ortus Sanitatis. . .29, 30 

A Dealer in Red Earth. Woodcut (Ortus Sanitatis) 31 

Laboratory. From the "Art of Distilling " 32 

Frontispiece. P. A. Matthioli, 1586 33 

Drug STORE of 1536 35 

Drug-store of 1548 36 

Drug-store of 1568 37 

Apothecary Cyriacus Schnaus, 1565 42 

Frontispiece, 1652 45 

Portrait of Theophr. Paracelsus 48 

Paracelsus 50 

Laboratory, 1663 51 

Drug-store, 1663 53 

Druggist Basilius Besler 54 

Journeyman's Certificate, 1743 56 

William Harvey 61 

Frontispiece 63 

Druggist Joh. Chi. Sommerhoff 66 

The " Court Pharmacy " at Rastatt in 1700 68 

" Star Pharmacy " at Nuremburg in 1710 69 

Drug store at Klattau in 1733. From a Photograph 70 

Laboratory of the Court Pharmacy at Koenigsberg in 1778 72 


viii Illustrations, 


Illustration from Keith's " Virginia," 1738 76 

Distilling in Sixteenth Century 77 

Distilling Apparatus and Utensils in Early Sixteenth Century. 81 


Retorts and Alembics 83 

Ancient Distillation 84 

Alembics 86 

Retorts 87 

Distilling Apparatus 88 

Improved Distilling Apparatus 89 

Distilling Apparatus, 1560 90 

Distilling Apparatus, 1567 91 

French Apparatus, 1560 92 

Dry Distilling 93 

Alchemist's Fireplace 95 

Fire-Kettle and Distillery Hearth 98 

CoppEL Hearth 99 

Distilling Scene 100 

Distilling Stoves loi 

Althanor Distilling Stove 102 

Wind Distilling Stove 103 

Distilling Apparatus 104 

Middle Age Stove 105 

Reverberatory Furnace 106 

Frontispiece. From the Dispensatory of Val. Cordus, 1666. . . . 109 

Public Display of Theriac 117 

Demons of Disease 125 

Love-Chafms 137 

Male and Female Mandrake 141 

Mandrake 142 

Digging Mandrake 143 

Frontispiece 157 

" The Wind Carried Him IN ITS Bowels " 168 

"The Earth Nourished Him." 169 

Alchemical Music ^ 170 

Union OF "Mercury" and "Sulphur." 171 

Union of the Father and Mother of the Hermaphrodite Stone. 173 

Alchemical Coin 178 


Chapter I. 


Common Origin of Phannacy and Medicine — Fetichism and Disease — 

Assyrian Pharmacy ..... 5 

Greek Myth of Prometheus — Pandora's Box— Isis 6 

^sculapius — Podalirius — Machaon — Hygeia 7 

^sculapius .and Hygeia 8 

Prometheus, .^sculapius and the Priesthood — Hospital Temples in Greece 9 

Serpent Symbolism in Pharmacy — Cosmas and Damian 10 

Miracles of Surgery — Sign of the Moor 1 1 

Pharmacy, Medicine and Surgery in Symbolism 12 

Chapter II. 


Egyptian Pharmacy in the Reign of Sent (3500 B. C.) — Pharmacy Among 
the Assyrians — Pharmacy Among the Hebrews and Chinese — Ching 
Nong 15 

Chinese Pharmacy 16 

Sanscrit Pharmacy — State Poisons — Philters — Theocritus — Pharmacy in 

the Temples of ^Esculapius — Hippocrates. 17 

Graeco-Egyptian Pharmacy — Erasistratos — Serapion — Mantias, Herak- 

leides and Dioscorides 18 

Mithridates — Roman Pharmacy — .^sclepiades 19 

Themiston — Menecrates — Dioscorides — Galen 20 

Galen — Ruffus — Circulation of the Blood — Nemesius — **Hiera picra" — 

Triallianus — Chinese Rhubarb — Homoeopathy 21 

Arabian Pharmacy — Alkekendi — Avicenna — Averroes — School of Salerno 
— Pharmacy in the Eleventh Century — Arctuarius — Arabian Phar- 
macy Laws — Pharmacy Laws of Frederic II (A. D. 1233) 22 

**Confectionarii*' and **Stationarii" — Pharmacy in the Middle Ages — 

Spanish Pharmacy — German Pharmacy in the Thirteenth Century. , , 23 

German Pharmacy Laws — Grocers, Spicers and Pharmacists — English 

Pharmacy in the Fourteenth Century — Chaucer on Pharmacy 24 

Belgian Pharmacy in the Thirteenth Century — The First English Drug- 
store — ^The First French Drug-store — A Fourteenth Centuiy German 
Apothecaress 25 



A Fifteenth Century Drug- Store— The Mortar in Fifteenth Century Phar- 
macy — " Ortus Sanitatis " 27 

Coats of Arms for Labels 29 

Peripatetic Druggists 31 

Pharmacal Laboratory of the Middle Ages 32 

Chapter III. 


Sixteenth Century Drug-Store Labels 35 

Directions for Keeping Drugs — Shakespere's Apothecary — The Use of 

Stuffed Crocodiles ,. 3^ 

Sugar in Sixteenth Century Pharmacy 37 

Poly-Pharmacy in the Sixteenth Century — English Pharmacy in the Six- 
teenth Century — BuUeyn — Medico-Pharmacal Conflicts — French 

Pharmacy in the Sixteenth Century 38 

Belgian, German, Dutch and Italian Pharmacy in the Sixteenth Century — 

Adulteration Laws 39 

Drug Bills in the Sixteenth Century 40 

Defense of Sixteenth Century Pharmacists against Charges by Physicians. 41 

Cyriac Schnaus — War Pharmacy — Separation of Spicers from Pharmacists. 43 

Chapter IV. 


American Drugs in the Seventeenth Century 47 

Chemical Remedies — Paracelsus 48 

Avicenna, the Prince of Physicians 49 

Origin of the Homoeopathic School 50 

Chemical Medicine — Nicholas Lemery — Seventeenth Century Pharmacal 

Laboratory 51 

Human Skull as a Remedy — ^Joseph Bechler — Seventeenth Century Apoth- 
ecary Shops — Seventeenth Century Botany — Caesalpinus 52 

* * Hortus Eystettensis " — Basil Besler 53 

Botanical Researches in Nuremburg — Pharmaco-Medical Banquets 55 

Pharmacist's Certificate, 1743 56 

Seventeenth Century Pharmacal Education — ^Journeyman Pharmacist's 

Certificate — Social Status of the German Pharmacist 57 

Seventeenth Century Satirists and Pharmacy 58 

Zacchias and .Self Generated Poisons — Italian Pharmacy — The Apotheca- 
ries Company in England 60 

Social Status of the English Apothecary — William Harvey 61 

Seventeenth Century Pharmacy in America — Dr. Edward Heldon — Rev. 
Jacob Green — Giles Firmin — William Davies — American Pharmacy 

Laws — Salmon's Herbal 62 

Contents. xi 

Chapter V. 


Early English Pharmacy Laws — Grocers and Apothecaries Company — 

Medico-Pharmacal Conflicts — " Urinal of Physic '* 65 

John Christopher Sommerhoff — ** Lexicon Pharmaceutico-Chymicum " . . 67 

Eighteenth Century Drug-Stores 68, 69 

Fluid Containers — Porcelain Substituted for Majolica Ware 70 

Boettcher — Eighteenth Century Pharmacal Laboratory 71 

Pharmaceutical Conflicts with Distillers — Prescription Percentages 72 

Eighteenth Century Pharmacal Education — Trommsdorf — First Pharmacal 

Journal — Pharmacal Institute 73 

The Pharmacist Scientists : Hudson, Ehrhart and Scheele — Dr. Dover — 
Dover's Powder — Thomas Fowler — Fowler's Solution — Dr. Stur — 
Eighteenth Century Irish Pharmacy — Metrology in Ireland — American 
Pharmacy — James Tagree — Gov. Hunter — The Van Burens — The 

"Red Drop" 74 

John Johnstone — American Patent Medicine — "Tuscarora Rice "—New 
Jersey Pharmacy Law — Jonathan Dickinson's ** Materia Medica" — 
Dr. L. Vanderveer — Scutellaria — Robert Eastburn's Receipt Book — 
Schoepf and Barton's ** Materia Medica" — Dr. Tilton's Pharmaco- 
poeia — Duncan's ** Dispensatory " — Lewis' " Materia Medica " — 
American Botany-»-Dr. Cadwallader Calden — Dr. Benjamin Rush. . . 75 
Codliver Oil 76 

Chapter VI. 


Distilling Among the Greeks and Romans — Synesius — Rhazes of Bagdad 
— Arabian Distilling — Furno of Basel — Thaddaus of Florence — 

Amoldus of Villanova — Fifteenth Century Laws Regulating Distilling 79 

Brunschwyck's Works on Distilling — Sixteenth Century Distilling 80 

Vials — Curcubites — Urinals . . 81 

Circulatories — Funnels 82 

Retorts — Alembics 83 

Methods of Distillation 85 

Modified Alembics 86 

Middle Age Retorts 87 

Improvements in Distilling — Basilius Valentinus 88 

Metallic Apparatus 90 

Ryff''s "Distiller's Book" 91 

French Distilling Apparatus 92 

xii * Contents, 

Chapter VII. 



Alchemist's Fire-Places 97 

Fire-Kettles — Distillery Hearths 98 

** Coppel ' * Hearths 99 

Tabernaemontanus' ** Medicine Book *' 100 

Distilling Stove— Matthiolus* ** Herb Book" loi 

Althanor Distilling Stove 102 

*«Wind " Distilling Stove 103 

Distilling Apparatus 104 

Middle Age Stove 105 

Reverberatory Furnace — Fuel used by Alchemists 106 

Artificial Hot Springs 107 

Chapter VIII. 

ANCIENT pharmacopoeias. 

Ancient " Prayogamrita '* — Scribonius' **Compositiones Medica** — 

** Ibdal " — Nicolaus' " Antidotarium " — Piedmont Formulary ill 

Myrepsius' "Antidotarium " — "Antidotarium Magnum " — *' Pharmaco- 

pceia Lugdensis " — Nuiemburg Pharmacy Law — " Luminare Majus " . 

— ^Joh. Jac. M. de Bosco 112 

Cordus Dispensatory — Life of Cordus 113 

Cordus' Preparations — Greek, Roman and Arabian Receipts 114 

Mithridat — Theriac 116 

Public Display of Theriac 117 

Substitution — American Drugs — Chemicals 118 

Animal Remedies — Human Products 119 

Sixteenth Century German, Italian and Spanish Pharmacopoeias— Seven- 
teenth Century English and Spanish Pharmacopoeias 120 

French, Dutch, Belgian and Danish Pharmacopoeias — Medical Cannibal- 
ism — ^Jalap — Tolu — Cinchona 121 

Swedish, Prussian, Spanish, Swiss and Austrian Pharmacopoeias 122 

Bohemian, Persian, American and Irish Pharmacopoeias— Hog Lice Wine 123 

Chapter IX. 

medical superstitions. 

Fetichism and Medicine — Survival of Superstitions 127 

Demon Possession — Nineteenth Century Superstitions — ^* Water to Drive 

Out Demons " — "Amulets against the Plague * ' 128 

"Amulets against Nosebleed " — Remedy for Epilepsy 129 

•* Tablettes against Disease '' — Superstitions about Precious Stones 130 

Contents, xiii 

Incantations against Disease — Charms against Fever — Amulets for Women 

in Confinement 131 

Horoscopes — Similarities in Shape and Disease 132 

Witchcraft Remedies — ** Sympathetic Egg.*' 133 

Tree Charms — Weapon Salve of Paracelsus 134 

Astrology and Disease — Memory Remedies 135 

Persistence of Superstition 136 

Chapter X. 


Early Philters — Indian Hemp 139 

Mandrake ■ 140 

Use of the Mandrake in Early Jewish Times 141 

Risks of Mandrake Gathering 143 

Other Vegetable Philters of the Classical Era — Theocritus and Lucian on 

Philters 144 

Incantation of Simaetha 145 

Aphrodisiacs — Satyrion — Androgonos — Thelygonos 147 

Ebers' Philter—** Hekt "—Love Charms 148 

Horace on Philters 149 

Hippomane — Petronius on Satyrion 150 

Lucretius — Philters in the Middle Ages — Vervain^ 151 

A Labor of Love 152 

Diasatirion 153 

Love Powders — Love Charms 154 

Chapter XI. 


Modem Science and Alchemy 159 

Origin of Alchemy 160 

Tabula Smaragdina — Twelfth Century Alchemy — Albertus Magnus 161 

Roger Bacon — Raymond LuUy — Pope John XXII — Canon Ripley — ** Six 

Chemical Portals " 162 

Chaucer on Alchemy 163 

Norton — Alchemy in Italy and England 164 

Basil Valentine — Rudolph II — Luther on Alchemy — Development of 

Chemistry from Alchemy 165 

Leibnitz — Newton — British Royal Society — Ashmole — The ** Red Earth" 

— **Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum" 166 

Majero's Atalanta 167 

Alchemy in Music and Art 168 

Alchemic Theories 1 70 

Sulphur and its Ancient Names 171 

Enigma Regis — Quinta Essentia 172 

XIV Contents. 


Alchemical Symbols 1 75 

Alchemy in the Eighteenth C'entury 176 

Krohnemann and Alchemical Impostors 177 

Alchemistic Gold Coins 178 

Imprisonment of Krohnemann — "Usufur," a Wonderful Gold-powder — 

Duke, Cosmos II victimized 179 

Execution of Count Cajetan — Failure of the old Fire Philosophers 180 

Epitaph of Alchemists — Peter Woulfe 181 

Woulfe's Peculiarities — Deceit of Prince Rohan in 1880 by the American 

Alchemist Wise — An American Alchemist 182 

Table of Alchemistic Symbols 183 

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g HARMACY and medicine in most countries had 
a common origin in the fetichtic philosophy of the 
savage, which recognized a "soul" in even inani- 
mate objects. Disease was the "soul" of one 
object attacking another, and to drive this malign 
influence off, noises, smells, and various contortions were em- 
ployed, such as are still used by the " medicine men " of the 
savages of to-day. The fact was empirically ascertained that 
herbs* had beneficent properties which were at first explained on 
the fetichtic philosophy. On this double basis of empiricism 
and a fanciful philosophy developed pharmacy, medicine, and 
most religions. 

For a long period the religious incantations formed the chief 
part in the treatment of disease. The chanter of litanies occu- 
pied a higher place than the physician who applied the remedies. 
This relationship was later removed. The cuneiform inscrip- 
tions in Assyria contain a complete history of this evolution. 
The earlier inscriptions give a prominent place to charms and 
incantations in medicine. The later (B. C. 1640) contain 
reference to classified diseases, their pathology, diagnosis and 
treatment, including directions for the preparation of medicine. 
One inscription, for example, directs the preparation of a pre- 
scription for a "diseased gall bladder which devours the top of 
a man's heart; cypress extract, goat's milk, palm wine, barley, 
ox and bear flesh, and the wine of the cellarer, "f are directed tg 

Schulus, Hiic 


History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

Fig- 3- 

be made into a decoction by a medical specialist clearly prac- 
ticing pharmacy. 

The researches of Ebers leave little doubt that pharmacy 
was practiced by one branch of the priesthood of Isis, to whom 
prescriptions were sent by the physician-priest, 
who, accompanied by a chanter of litanies or 
charms, attended the sick. 

Some of the Egyptian inscriptions indicate 
that processes akin to distilling were practiced.* 
How far these influenced the later discoveries 
of the Arabian chemists is an open question, 
since it is well known that the alleged de- 
struction of the Alexandrian library is a 

The Aryanf races had similar usages to 
the Assyrians in regard to the commingling of 
religion, pharmacy, and medicine. Chinese 
pharmacy and pathology is a corrupted form """* 

of the earlier Aryan views. One Aryan expression of the 
indignation of the priests at the increasing tendency to the 
separation of medicine and science from religion was to be 
found in the Greek myth of Prometheus. When Prometheus, 
an early friend of man, had wrenched fire from the hands of 
Zeus, and presented it to the poor mortals, the wrath' of the 
king of the gods knew no bounds, and he determined upon 
being revenged. Pursuant to this he ordered Hephaestos to 
model a woman, and induced all the immortal gods to adorn 
her with the costliest gifts at their command. The result was 
a being of resplendent and fascinating loveliness, named Pan- 
dora. To Hermes fell the lot of conducting her to the 
earth and into the presence of Epimetheus. Although fore- 
warned by his brother Prometheus, not to accept presents 
from Zeus, Epimetheus nevertheless could not withstand the 
beauty and attractiveness of Pandora, giving her hospitable 
shelter and accepting from her a bos as a gift from the gods. 
Hardly had he lifted the lid when there poured forth from the 
box wailings and lament, hunger and want, distress, sickness and 

• ZeilSdhrift fur Egyp'oloei'. '865- 
t HiiLocy of Medkme, by GordoD. 

Tutelar Gods and Patron Saints. 

suffering immeasurable. Becoming terrified and quickly attempt- 
ing to close the box, he saw that Hope, which was the last to 
leave the box, had been caught by the lid, and thus the only 
consoler of man ever aftel*ward presented itself to him in a sadly 
distorted condition. Ever since this occurrence wasting fevers 
haunt the land, and pale and hollow-eyed disease pursues man 
wherever he goes. But Prometheus, by order of Zeus, was 
chained to the most desolate rock in the Caucasus. 

The myth further tells us that a certain god took pity on 
suffering man, and, in a measure at least, to console and help 
him, taught him the art of healing. This god was ^Esculapius. 
According to the legend, he was the son of Hermes and Caronis, 
was born in the neighborhood of Epidaurus, and was there left 
to his fate at the foot of a mountain. A goat there nourished 
him, and a shepherd dog protected and watched over him. 
Later on Hermes intrusted his education to the Centaur Chiron, 
who mainly instructed him in the art of healing. iEsculapius 
was an apt scholar, and very soon became such a master in the 
art that he not only healed the sick and wounded, but even 
brought the dead to life again. This restoration of the dead 
excited the wrath of Pluto, the god of Hades, who complained 
to Zeus, and the latter killed the culprit with a thunderbolt for 
daring to interfere with the natural limits of human life. 

Another later legend assigns as the real cause of his sudden and 
ignoble taking off, that he had, contrary to the will of the gods, 
taught the art of healing to man. The grateful mortals did not 
forget their benefactor, and built temples in honor of ^Esculapius, 
in which priests, of whom his two sons, Podalirius and Machaon, 
were the first in order, further practiced and developed the art 
of healing. ^Esculapius is pictured as a most worthy and wise- 
looking, long-bearded man, bearing in his hand a staff around 
which coiled a snake. The preparing of the medicine ordered 
was left to Hygeia, the goddess of healing, who was the daughter, 
or. according to others, the wife of ^Esculapius. 

Thus modern healers, whose path in life is not always 
strewn with roses, and whose efforts in behalf of suffering man 
are frequently no more appreciated than were those of ^Escu- 
lapius of old by the gods, may look to this patron saint for con- 
solation, and furthermore take pride in the charming Hygeia, 

History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

who is portrayed as a youthful and beautiful woman, clad in a 
long flowing robe, in the act of feeding a serpent from a shell. 

In the medical works of the Romans, Greeks, and those of 
the Middle Ages, these gods of healing are frequently referred 

to. Figure 4 represents these two gods. It is a reproduction 
from a copper-plate executed by J. P. Funk, of Nuremburg, in 
the eighteenth century. The picture bearing the inscription, 
"Bibliotheca Wagneriana," served as a property mark in a 

Tutelar Gods and Patron Saints. a 

" Fauna suecica Carol. Linnaei," still preserved in the Germanic 
rnuseum. Whether or not the former owner of the book is Iden- 
tical with his namesake, the noted Famulus in Goethe's Fanst, 
we must leave undecided. But the portrayal of nature between 

the figures of ^sculapius and Hygeia at least vividly calls to 
mind these words of Faust, rendered by Bayard Taylor : 

" How grand a show ! but ah 1 a. show ^one. 
' Thou boundless nature, how make ihee my own ? 

Where you, ye breasts ? Founls of all Being, shining, 
Wheteon hang Heaven's and Earth's desire. 
Whereto Our withered hearts aspire, — 
Ve flow, ye feed ; and am I vainly pining ?" 

Although in the original myth Prometheus and .^sculapius 
appear as enemies to the priesthood, who believed in the fetichtic 
doctrine of the origin of disease, the worship of the latter as a 
subsidiary god soon became fashionable, while the observations 
of Hippocrates and Galen, and the researches of the Athens 
Archseological Society* show that the temples of jEsculapius and - 

lo History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

Hygiea were in reality hospitals attended by skilled physicians. 
The cure or improvement of the patient was ascribed to the 
power of the god or goddess invoked by the worship or offerings 
of the patient. Treatment was often indicated by the god, in 
a vision, to the physician. Hippocrates, whose family had been 
priests of ^Escupalius at Cos, directs physicians to pay particular 
attention to the dreams of the patient and himself. 

Fetichism rapidly passed into pure symbolism, and the prin- 
ciple of life and health was early represented as a serpent, whose 
graceful, steialthy motion had early excited curiosity. In many 
of the Egyptian incantations for health this serpent worship 
played a part. On one notable occasion Moses and the Hebrews 
are found returning to this worship. The symbol early and 
naturally became a medical one, and associated with ^Esculapius 
and Hygiea.* Around the staff of ^sculapius a serpent winds, 
and the assumption of this staff by an ordained priest was cele- 
brated by an annual festival.f 

When the intellectual revolution produced by the teachings 
of Christ swept over the world the old gods and goddesses were 
replaced by Christian saints. In Greece, in the places formerly 
sacred to Hygeia, the Virgin is invoked to cure disease.J Ii^ 
Western Europe the holy martyrs, Cosmas and Damian, took 
the place of ^Esculapius in popular worship, and their portraits 
were henceforth frequently placed on the title pages of medical 
works. The two saints, who were brothers, lived in the fourth 
century. Deeply moved by the Christian religion, they were 
actuated by the noblest motives, and practiced the art of healing 
with the utmost self-sacrifice. When the Diocletian persecution 
of Christians was inaugurated, they were arrested by order of 
the city's mayor, Lysias, and condemned to death. The legend 
says that during their execution and shortly thereafter, a num- 
ber of miracles took place. In a book entitled "The Holy 
Lives," printed by Martin Hupfuf, in the free and imperial city 
of Strassburg in 15 13, it is related that when the saints had 
been thrown into the water with the purpose of drowning them, 
an angel descended, and, freeing their bounden limbs, enabled 
them to gain the shore. Lysias then ordered them to be burned, 

* Schultze, History of Fetichism. 

t Littrc, Vol. IV. 

t Merriaro. Trans. N. Y. Academy of Medicine, 1886. 

Tutelar Gods and Patron Saints. ii 

but the fire attacked the heathen and many of them perished. 
They were then fastened to a cross, and Lysias ordered them to 
be stoned to death Snd pierced by arrows ; but in each instance 
these missiles proved to be boomerangs in the hands of the 
would-be slayers. Becoming very much enraged at these futile 
attempts, he had them beheaded, whereupon their souls took 
flight heavenward. Their bodies were taken to Asyria and pre- 
served in a chapel. Pope Felix procured some of their relics, 
which he placed in a church built in honor of the two saints. 

For centuries physicians and patients journeyed to the shrine 
of the saintly patrons of medicine, and many patients were 
reported to have been healed. One instance of miraculous 
healing should here be recorded. A man with a diseased leg 
had fervently implored them to come to his relief in his great 
suffering, and his faith in the supernatural powers ascribed to 
them was soon to be rewarded. One night he dreamed that they 
were in his presence, and were holding counsel over his stricken 
member. They concluded to replace it by a sound limb taken 
from a Moor who had but recently died. When he awoke the . 
new member was in place, and at once served the purpose of a 
useful limb, causing amazement among the populace, and serving 
to confirm their belief in the superhuman powers of the saints. 

To the fact that the limb of a Moor had served to perform 
this miracle, as well as to the profound impression the occurrence 
left upon the minds of men, is probably due the predilection that 
so many druggists of the Middle Ages displayed toward the sign 
of the Moor, which was by them so frequently chosen as a badge 
or emblem, to which peculiarity, even at the present day, the 
many "Apotheken zum Mohren *' in Central Europe bear witness. 
In many parts of Europe the 27th day of September, the day of 
martyrdom of these Catholic Christian saints, was celebrated in 
a pompous manner. The Vienna Medical Society possesses a 
copy of an invitation, in Latin, of the year 1700, in which physi- 
cians, licentiates, baccalaureates, students, druggists and surgeons 
are invited to take part in a grand celebration of the 
and Damian anniversary in the Stephans church at Vienna. 

Very likely the pictures of the saints were on such occasions 
multiplied and distributed among the populace, as is done at the 
present time when a nation honors its heroes. The Vienna 

History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

Medical Society also possesses two copper-plates that evidently 
served this purpose. Figure 6 is reproduced from one of these 

Figure 2, which introduces this chapter, represents the art of 
healing, with its sub-divisions. Medicine, Pharmacy and Surgery, 








6 ■■• 








\ f 


\ S S Coi^Wb ET Uam 


■^\ARtvms i 

is from a copper-plate by an unknown master of the sixteenth 
century. In the background a drug store stands revealed by the 
peculiar bottles and containers displayed in the windows, and a 
druggist appears at the door of his shop in plain garb, humbly 
accepting a prescription from the hands of the physician. Phar- 
macy is further represented by a mortar and distilling apparatus, 
as well as by numerous roots and herbs promiscuously distributed 
in the foreground. 

Noting his penury to myself I said : 
And if a man did need a poison now, 
Whose sale is present death in Mantua, 
Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him. 

— Romeo and Juliet. 


C^avfer ^qw. 

9l|«Kin«(il fn tl|* MtA6I> &.g*a. 

MHARMACV early attained a relatively high develop- 
ment among the Egyptians. A papyrus of the 
reign of Sent {3300 years B.C.) gives direction's as 
to the preparation of prescriptions. These were 
given accompanied by incantations. By 1600 B. C. 
medicine and pharmacy were as far advanced among the Egypt- 
ians as at the time of Galen Claudius (200 A. D.) In the Ebers 
papyri (1600 B. C.) is a formulary containing prescriptions of 
famous physicians. Among these are several of a noted Assyrian 
ophthalmologist living near Mt. Lebanon. Draughts, blisters, 
powders, ointments, and clysters are the chief preparations men- 
tioned. Mineral and vegetable drugs are used. That the " art of 
the apothecary," however, already existed among Assyrians 
is shown by these prescriptions, as well as the inscriptions in 
cuneiform letters* which give formulae for various diseases. 

The Hebrews, from their association with the Egyptians and 
the Assyrians, imbibed a taste for pharmacal and medical 
studies, and the " art of the apothecary" is spoken of very early 
in Old Testament history. This bias the Hebrews never lost. 
They had a medical school of their own at Sora as late as 
200 A. D. 

The influence of the Cushito-Aryan civilization, which showed 
itself in the wisdom of the Assyrians, left an impress on Central 
Asia evident in the early development of pharmacy and medicine 
among the Chinese, for Ching Nong, a contemporary of Menes I, 
of Egypt, was learned in pharmacy. He studied botany and made 

' Sayce. (,5) 

1 6 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

decoctions and extracts. The Chinese drug-stores of to-day give 
an idea of pharmacy as practiced for centuries among these 

Nearly all of the medicines, with a few important exceptions, 
consist of nuts, berries, roots, barks, and herbs. The subjoined 
list, furnished by a Chinese physician in Philadelphia, gives some 
idea of the substances actually employed in practice : 

iEWA Ching fong tong. The root of a plant. 

fif-^jt Ho Shau U. Root of Aconitum Japonicum. 

kH% Y Tai tong kwai. Root of Aralia edulis. 

}k^j)t^^ Hung kwo ki. Fruit of wild Berberis Lycium. 

^Ij^ Pak*ki. A kind of lung wort. 

t5J ^ Ch'un kung. " Nodular masses, consisting appar- 
ently of the root-stock of some umbelliferous plant allied to 

^ % Kom ts'o. Liquorice root. 

ft ^ Wai shan. The root of a water plant. 

{^ ^ Pak shut. The root of Atractylodes alba. 

The herbs and barks are in large pieces, and the tubers and 
roots usually entire. It is customary to cut the former in small 
pieces, and slice the latter in delicate segments before placing 
them in the drawers and boxes for sale. A large cleaver (yeiik 
ts'oi k*ap), mounted with a hinge upon a slightly inclined table, 
is employed to chop the grasses and herbs in convenient lengths, 
while the tubers are sliced upon an instrument resembling a 
carpenter's plane (yeuk p'o), inserted in a long bench upon which 
the operator sits, the pieces falling through upon a tray placed 
beneath. A canoe-shaped cast-iron mortar (yeiik shiin) is em- 
ployed to reduce some nuts and minerals to powder. It stands 
upon four legs, and a heavy iron disc is rolled backwards and 
forwards within it by means of a wooden axle, to which the 
operator applies his feet, while his hands are free to perform 
other work. 

The prescriptions furnished by the native doctors, which are 
usually written upon Chinese letter paper, and a foot in length, 
contain only a list of the names and quantities of the medicines 
required, with' concise directions for their preparation, no date 

Pharmacy in the Middle Ages, 17 

or signature being appended. The clerk weighs out the ingre- 
dients, and places them separately upon a large sheet of paper, 
going over them carefully afterward to prevent any possible 
mistake. A hand balance (litang) is used, consisting of a deci- 
mally graduated, ivory rod, from one end of which a brass scale 
pan is suspended by silk threads. The smaller kind weigh from 
one li to five and one-half leung, or Chinese ounces, and are 
remarkably accurate. Some are powdered in the upright iron 
mortar (chung hdm), and others in the porcelain mortar (liii lin); 
certain roots and seeds are roasted in a pan, while others are 
steeped for a few moments in Chinese rice spirits. The package 
of medicine is carried home to be boiled, and the infusion taken 
at one dose by the patient. Some Chinese prunes (hak tsb) are 
usually furnished, to be eaten at the same time. The prescription, 
of which no record is kept, is returned with the medicine. 

The extensive materia medica of the Aryans* and the 
Sanscrit code of ethics show that the apothecary's art was in 
high esteem. The doctrine of transmigration of souls, as it 
limited the field of surgery, gave increased importance to phar- 
macology, botany and the preparation of drugs. The Greeks, 
from an early period, like most Aryan people, had a tinge of 
pharmacal knowledge, shown by the instruction given by the 
Centaurs (symbols of foreign influence) to the various gods and 
heroes. Pharmacy among the Greeks was stimulated by the 
necessity of additions to the incantations of the priests. The 
mixed religious and medical procedures in the marvels recorded 
in the temples of Hygiea and -^sculapius indicate this. 

An additional stimulus was given by the use of a poison by 
the state for public executions, and the necessity the fair sex felt 
of adding to their attractions. A poem of Theocritus (" Pharma- 
ceutica") deals chiefly with philters, then a profitable branch of 
pharmacy, which, even to the present day, survives in the "love 
powders," so largely in demand in certain districts of our larger 

In the temples of -^sculapius the art of medicine became 
somewhat systematized ; pharmacists resided within the walls, 
while the physicians went forth among the people. This is 
obvious from many of the facts cited by Hippocrates (B. C. 460- 

* Gordon, History of Medicine. 

History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

370), who gathered up many of the observations recorded by his 
predecessors. He was the seventh of seven of the same name, 
and the most illustrious of a long line of medical men. Phar- 
macy and medicine, which had begun to diverge under the 
^sclepiades, became united in his person. Hippocrates carried 
his drugs with him. 

Greek and Egyptian medicine and pharmacy commingled at 
Alexandria, where every science of the period was stimulated by 
the Ptolemies (323-30 B. C.) Among the great pharmacists and 

Fig. 8. 


physicians of this period were : Herophilos ^335 B. C), who 
made great contributions to anatomy. He also made several 
contributions to pharmacology. Serapion (280 B, C.) and 
Mantias (250 B. C.) wrote formularies giving descriptions of drugs 
and processes ; Herakleides added much to the pharmacology of 
Hippocrates j AppoUonios, of Tyre, and Dioscorides, of Phakas, 
were toxico legists, pharmacologists and magicians ;* Erasistratos 
was the great anatomist of the period. 

By the' empirical school, which developed under the teach- 
ings of Herophilos and Erasistratos (280 B. C), pharmacology 
and therapeutics were greatly studied. Through the experiments 
on human beings of Mithridates and Attalos IH, toxicology 

Pharmacy in the Middle Ages. 19 

received an impetus. The cosmetic art was advanced by Cleo- 
patra, by Berenice and Arsencea, who dabbled in this branch of 
the pharmacy of the period. Kleophantos (138 B. C), Nikan- 
dros (136 B. C), Kratenos (70 B. C.) and Heras (30 B. C), con- 
tributed much to pharmacology. 

The early Roman writings on medicine discuss hygiene and 
preventive medicine. Vegetius (386 B. C.) wrote a work on the 
duties of army surgeons, which pays but little attention to phar- 
macy. ' His directions, where not surgical, are chiefly dietetic 
and hygienic. 

Fg 9 


About 187 B. C, in consequence of an epidemic, a temple 
was erected to ^^sculapius, and later one to Hygiea, This intro- 
duced pharmacy and therapeutics into Rome. About 100 B. C, 
Arcagathus left Greece for Rome, and a " shop and surgery " 
were purchased for him by the people. He practiced both 
medicine and pharmacy. He was driven out on account of his 
predilection foroperations, and was succeeded in popular esteem 
by ^sclepiades, who had studied medicine at Alexandria, then 
the great centre of Grteco-Egyptian medicine. He practiced an 

. History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

expectant treatment and hydropathy, and denounced drugs and 
venesection. Themiston, who was practically his pupil, suc- 
ceeded him. Medicine soon became divided up into sects and 
specialties. The tendency to pharmacy was shown in the exten- 
sive use of drugs by some of these sects, who acquired a peculiar 
skill in dispensing.* Menecrates (i A. D.) was one of these. He 
invented diachylon plaster, and used it for much the same pur- 
poses for which it is employed to-day. Archigenes, who was 
his successor, employed opium in dysentery. 

Dioscorides, of Anazarba, who belonged to the Grreco-Roman 
school of this period, was a great pioneer in pharmacy. He 
extended the knowledge of botany and pharmacology in a work 
which was recognized as an authority on the subject as late as 
the seventeenth century, A. D. Dioscorides used powdered elm- 
bark in skin diseases, and polypodium as an anthelmintic. He 
described four hundred plants. His followers in pharmacology 
were Varro (27 B. C.) and Macersen. Celsus was a commentator 
rather than a pharmacist or physician. 

Pharmacy in the Middle Ages. 21 

Galen, the great reviver of medicine, who maintained his 
supremacy for nearly fourteen hundred years, was at once phar- 
macist, physician, botanist and surgeon. He united in his works 
the various schools. He is on record as keeping a drug store in 
Rome. His theories as to disease still in small degree dominate 
modern pathology. In many particulars he reproduced the 
theories of the Aryan physicians, and that school of Aryan medi- 
cine which prevailed in China. He was the first to secure the 
aroma of plants by distillation. To the list of plants given by 
Dioscorides he added nearly half as many more. One class of 
remedies described by him were called " Arteriacea," which 
acted on the blood vessels in a similar manner to the " vaso- 
motor" remedies of to-day. 

In the next century appear three great names, Ruffus, who dis- 
covered the function of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, Aurelianus, 
and Leonidas. Isolation of contagious diseases was proposed by 
Aurelianus and Leonidas, who were denounced by the public as 
brutes for so doing. The next two centuries were periods of 
decline. Nemesius, in his work " De Natura Hominis" (300 A.D.), 
gives a theory of the circulation of the blood, which, imperfect 
though it be, is a step forward in the direction of the modern 
doctrine. Oribasius, in the fourth century, was an active phar- 
macologist, -^tius, in the fifth century, first made use of the 
magnet in the treatment of disease. 

Alexander Trallianus, in the sixth century, advised that age, 
sex, and constitution be considered in treatment. He used col- 
chicum in the treatment of gout, iron in the treatment of anaemia, 
rhubarb in " liver weakness" and dysentery. He introduced the 
mixture called " hiera picra" into medicine as an anthelmintic. 
He distinguished between tape-worms, round worms, and thread 
worms. In the sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great enunciated 
the dogma of Homoeopathy, which had been propounded in 
China several centuries before.* Paulus -^gineta, in the seventh 
century, described Chinese rhubarb. As early as the second 
century a Jewish University existed at Sora, where onedicine was 

With the rise of the Saracens into intellectual dominance, the 

" Meryon, p. xx^. 

22 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 


Grseco-Roman, Grseco-Egyptian, and Cushito-Aryan schools of 
medicine and pharmacy became united. 

The practitioners of medicine were held in high esteem by 
the Arabians. Mahomet himself had a predilection for the 
healing art. There is very good reason for believing that 
numerous medical works were preserved from the destruction 
of the Alexandrian library, by the Arabian physicians. It is 
certain that the Arabs had medical schools at Alexandria for 
more than a century after the alleged destruction of the 

The practice of pharmacy was greatly extended by the 
Arabians, and among them the separation of medicine and 
pharmacy was recognizable as early as the eighth century, and 
was established by law in the eleventh. There were two great 
schools among them. One held the view enunciated by Alke- 
kendi in the ninth century, that " the activity of a medicine 
increases in a duplicate ratio when compounded with others," 
and were polypharmacists. The other school, noticeably Avi- 
cenna, opposed this view, which finally received its coup de grace 
at the hands of Averroes in the twelfth century. 

As many of the drugs used were imported from the East, a 
branch of dealers sprung up who were to be distinguished from 
the apothecaries. These were, properly speaking, physicians 
who practiced pharmacy, and. who existed in Italy as early as 
the eleventh century. The school of Salerno compelled its 
graduates* to swear not to give or accept percentages on pre- 
scriptions. This school was founded in the seventh century, 
and subsequently came under the control of the Arabs, and 
adopted from them the practice of separating medicine from 
pharmacy. Arctuarius, who wrote in the eleventh century, dis- 
cusses pharmacy at great length. He describes laxatives in an 
exhaustive manner, and discusses "distilled waters." It is 
certain that establishments for dispensing medicines existed at 
Cordova, Toledo, and other large towns under the dominion of 
the Arabs, prior to the twelfth century, and establishments of this 
character were placed under severe legal restrictions. From 
their regulation Emperor Frederic II drew the material for 
the law passed in 1233 (which remained in force for a long 

* Meryon. 

Pharmacy in the Middle Ages, 23 

time in the Two Sicilies), for the regulation of the practice of 

According to this law every medical man was required to 
give information against any pharmacist who should sell bad 
medicine. Pharmacists were divided into two classes. First, 
the stationariiy who sold simple medicines and ^^ non-magisiraP^ 
preparations, according to a tariff determined by competent 
authorities ; and, second, the confectionarii^ whose business 
consisted in scrupulously disp>ensing the prescriptions of the 
medical men. All pharmacal establishments were placed under 
the surveillance of the College of Medicine. 

During the Middle Ages pharmacy was, to a great extent, 
under control of the Arabian physicians. From contact with 
them in the East, the religious orders (the Benedictines particu- 
larly) devoted themselves to pharmacy, pharmacology and 
therapeutics. These monks were forbidden to shed blood, with 
the result that surgery fell largely into the hands of the barbers. 
In the twelfth century the Benedictine monk, -^gidus, wrote a 
poetical treatise on drugs, which was long accepted by the 
schools as an authority. The rise of alchemy, the toxicological 
studies which the fashion of the age cultivated, and the taste 
for spices, combined medicine, pharmacy, chemistry, toxicology, 
the grocery business, the confectidriery business and barber- 
ing into one trade, which united the learned with the criminal 

Under the auspices of the Saracens, pharmacy attained in 
Spain and Italy a status it never lost. The development of 
national life in Germany and England having taken place some- 
what later than in other parts of Europe, the beginning of 
pharmacal history in the former is' of a comparatively recent 
date. The cities give the earliest manifestations of the division 
of labor in medicine, which signalizes the origin of independent 

In Germany the history of pharmacy begins in the thirteenth 
century. In 1267 a drug-store is found to exist at Muenster, in 
1285 one at Augsburg, and in 1318 still another one at Hildes- 
heim. The latter was originally the property of the church, but 

* Hoefer, Histoire de la Chimie depuis les Temps les plus recul^s jusqu'a notre 
Epoque, Z842. 

24 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

after the year 1365 was controlled by the city. Undoubtedly 
other large German cities had drug-stores at this time, although 
definite records are not extant. That the boundary line of 
medicine and pharmacy was even then (1350) clearly defined is 
proven by the existence of a parchment ordinance of the city of 
Nuremberg. This decree ordains that the druggist shall con- 
scientiously fill all written and verbal orders on him according 
to his best ability ; that he shall use none but pure drugs ; that 
he shall treat rich and poor with equal courtesy ; that he shall 
be modest in his charges, and not demand more than he needs to 
feed and clothe himself and those dependent upon him, allowing 
a reasonable advance on the price of the drug as a compensation 
for his services. 

In those early days medicinal substances were largely imported 
from Italy. The remainder consisted in great part of simple 
mechanical mixtures and compounds. From these facts it is 
evident that these early drug-stores partook largely of the char- 
acter of grocery stores. They were, in fact, a survival of the 
stationarii of the edict of 1233. In France and England grocers 
and spicers were early united with apothecaries. There was, 
however, not a little internecine contest between the mere drug 
and spice seller and the practitioner of pharmacy. The first 
considered himself only a merchant ; the latter affiliated with the 
physicians and surgeons. This internecine strife led to a sep- 
aration, to the great discomfiture of the grocers, who were 
thus deprived of the profits arising from the sale of "strong 

In 1345 King Edward III of England gave a pension of 
of six pence a day to Coursus de Gangland, an apothecary of 
London, for taking care of and attending his majesty during his 
illness in Scotland. That the separation of the apothecary from 
the physician was pretty complete about this time, and that the 
populace suspected both of giving and taking percentages on 
prescriptions, will appear from the "Canterbury Tales," in 
which Chaucer says about his physician : 

** Full ready had he apotecaries 
To send him drugs and lectuaries, 
For each of them made other to winne 
Their friendship was not new to begin." 

Pharmacy in the Middle Ages, 25 

The grocers and apothecaries were legally united in England 
at this time by act of Parliament. 

The first trace of a pharmacal corporate body is to be 
found in Bruges, in Belgium, in 1297. This corporation pos- 
sessed at the beginning of the fourteenth century a spacious hall 
for its affairs, a seal, statutes, and a chapel. Here divine service 
was daily performed, new members were admitted and sworn in. 
Besides other wares, they had the exclusive sale of medicines. 
Members of distinguished families belonged to the guild, held 
the office of magistrate and other positions of dignity. The 
corporation, being possessed of great riches and privileges, gave 
the town at different times large sums for patriotic purposes. 
Our earliest knowledge of ancient established pharmacies we 
owe to wood-cuts coeval with the early human exploits in fields 
of science which collectively form the early chapters of a history 
of civilization. The wood-cut of those olden days frequently 
imparts clearer ideas concerning the pharmacist's life than words 
could convey. Bruges is known to have had its apothecaries 
from the earliest days of the fourteenth century. The first 
recorded apothecary shop in London was mentioned in 1345, the 
first in France in 1336, the first in Germany in the thirteenth 

A very ancient memorial of an apothecaries guild. Fig. 11, 
may be seen in the gateway of the Minster at Ulm (Germany). 
It is an epitaph with the picture of a woman in the civilian dress 
of the fourteenth century. She is seen standing on a dog, with 
her head resting on a pillow, which bears the coat of arms of the 
"Ehinger" family. The inscription on the margins of the 
stone reads as follows ; "In 1383. died, margareta. hainczen 
winkel's daughter, apothecaress. On saint Mathews' day." 
The presence of the " Ehinger " coat of arms lends plausibility 
to the inference that the husband of the "apothecaress," "whose 
family name is not given," was a member of the Ehinger family. 
The dog under the female figure (frequently pictured in this 
position on the epitaph of the female dead in the Middle Ages) 
denotes that the soul of the departed has now surmounted all 
carnal and earthly desires. During the Middle Ages and in 
antiquity the dog was looked upon not as a symbol of faithful- 
ness, but as an unclean animal. 


Pharmacy in the Middle Ages. 

Figure 12, probably the oldest illustration of a drug-store 
extant, is taken from the "Ars Memo rati va," published by Anton 
Sorg in 1470. Its most salient feature is a druggist comminuting 
some drug in a three-legged mprtar. Before the introduction of 
chemistry into pharmacy the mortar was no doubt the pharma- 
cist's principal companion," for the breaking up of crude 
drugs was then his main pharmacal manipulation. The back- 


ground is taken up by shelves that are loaded down with con- 
, tainers from floor to ceiling. 

Figure 7, which introduces this chapter, taken from the work 
"Ortus sanitatis" (the "Garden of Health"), represents a 
drug- store. At the end of the book are these words: "Gedrackt 
vnd volendet diser Herbarius durch Hannsen schBnsperger in der 
Keserylichen statt zu Augspurg an sant Bonifacius tag Anno 
MCCCC vn in dem LXXXVI jare." [This herbarium was printed 
and completed by Hannsen Schoensperger at the imperial city of 
Augsburg, on Saint Bonifacius day, in the year i486]. In the 
foreground the figures of five men are outlined. These no doubt 
are intended to represent the masters in medicine, since the 
following names are inscribed below these outlines in the origiosl : 

History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

Galenus, Avicenna, Plinius, Serapion and Dioscorides. Back of 
these figures stands a prescription counter, on which can be seen 
a book, scale, mortar, and a number of boxes. At the table the 

Fs 13 

(Fomabdokof 505) 

ancient prototype of the apprentice is lustily pounding away at 
some obdurate root or herb whilst the spirits of the great fathers 
of medicine stand before his mind as worthy sires for emulation 
and hallowed veneration 

Pharmacy in the Middle Ages. 39 

Figure 13 is taken from a work by Hieronymus Branschwygk, 
entitled " Das niiv Buch der rechten kunst zu distilliren. Ouch 
von Marsilio Ficino vn andrer hochberOmpter Artzte natlirliche 
vnd gute kunst zu behalten den gesunden leib vnd zu vertryben 
die kranckheit mit erlengerung des lebens," [The new book on the 
art of distilling. Also the natural and good art of preserving a 
healthy body, to banish disease and to prolong life ; by Marsilio 
Ficino and other renowned doctors. Published in 1505]. An 
earlier edition of this work was published by Grueninger at 
Strassburg in 1500. 

In these illustrations of Middle Age pharmacies, it is to be 
noted that, in place of labels, the containers bear the coats of 
arms of titled families and the badges of cities. 

The attaching of coats of arms to furniture and all household 
utensils was much practiced in those days, and as in all probability 
special containers were not made for pharmacies thus early, such 
bottles and jars were chosen as could be found in the market, so 
that although these escutcheons, etc., could serve no useful pur- 
pose, they certainly proved to be quite ornamental. 

Whether or not a system of numbering was in use for deter- 
mining the contents, as in later centuries, is not known. The 
stars in Figure 13 probably served for ornamental purposes only. 

History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

In the "Ortus sanitatis," the containers in which medicinal sub- 
stances were preserved, find frequent illustration. Distilled water 


and vinegar were kept in earthen jars, Figures 14 and 15. Small 
quantities of dry substances were kept in small wooden boxes, 
Figure 16. Roots and herbs in larger quantities were kept in 

Pharmacy in the Middle Ages. 31 

large, round wooden boxes, like Figure 17. Figure r8, taken 
from the same work, depicts a peddler offering "red earth" 
for sale. Red earth was used for a variety of purposes ; as 
a polishing powder, as a paint, as a background in the pro- 
cess of gilding, and by others as a curative agent. In the text 

it is described as a " Bolus armenus vel lutum armenum," and 
Armenia is specially emphasized as its source of introduction. 

The laboratory of the Middle Age pharmacist appears in 
Figure 19. An apprentice is handling a tripod over an open 
fire under the direction of his master, but the furniture of a 
laboratory of the Middle Ages was by no means so limited as 
would appear from the illustration. The medical works of those 
days speak of the multiplicity of apparatus and utensils then in 

History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

Fig. ig- 



, 1 




1 1 

m S 

^^ ij^mc^inm P^H 




1 ^ 



fig. 2D. 
(Krom '■ Book of Hirbs,' isM). 

In my shop of drugs are stored 
Many things of sweet accord, 
Spices with sugar I combine, 
Enemas and purges I divine. 
To strengthen the weak and the sickly. 
Refreshing draughts I furnish quickly. 
All these, with utmost care, 
On prescriptions I prepare. 

Hans Sachs, 
"True Description of all Professions." 1568. 


f)S=n f^ 

C^pfct J^rcc. 

Vnormncg in ll|t »l 

|IGURE 21, from the "Reformation of Pharmacy, 
An Illustrated Book of Herbs;" by Otto Brunfcls, 
of Mayence, depicts the interior of a sixteenth cen- 
tury dru^-store The "Reformation of Pharmacy" 
a o g na an e a p e en d by D Bninfeis, 
an f R n h H no ab C n f that 

li k a p h d at 

Strasburg ten years later, with this picture on its title page. From 
this illustration it is obvious that labels were beginning to take 
the place of the coats-of-arms of the earlier pharmacy. Brunfels 

Hislory of Ancient Pharmacy. 

describes with great care the containers for each kind of medi- 
cine. Dry, delicate and aromatic herbs should be so preserved 
as to prevent stagnation or a too ready escape of the odoriferous 
principles with which their medicinal virtues are intimately asso- 
ciated. Moist drugs must be kept in silver, glass or horn jars. 
Eye unguents must be preserved in china, whereas marrow, lard 
and crude matter of like character may be kept in zinc boxes. 
Oils are best kept in glass. Species aromatic in gold or silver 
material. Theriac, if genuine, would be worthy of a golden box, 
but one of zinc or lead will answer 

Fig. 22. 
DRUG-STORE. A, D. .548. 

The elaborate table coverings in Fig. 21, indicate that some 
care was taken to please the eye. By way of ornamentation, to 
attract the customer and to give the store a more fantastic 
appearance, it was decorated with strange animal forms, plants 
and other curiosities. Fig. 22 (from "A Book of Confections, 
and a Family Physician," by G. Ryff, of Strassburg, 1548), shows 
a stuffed crocodile for this purpose. This picture vividly recalls 
the description of an apothecary given by Shakespere fifty years 
later in "Romeo and Juliet :" 

Pharmacy in the Sixteenth Century. 

I do remember an apothecary, — 

And hereabouts he dwells, — which late 1 noted 

In talter'd weeds, with overwhelming hrows 

Culling of simples ; meagre were his looks, 

Sharp misery hiid worn him 10 the bones : 

And in his needy shop a (urloise hung. 

An alligalor »tuffcd, and other skins 

Of ill-shaped fishes ; and about his shelves 

A bcfsarly account of empty boxes, 

Green earthen pots, bladders and musty seeds. 

Remnants of packthread and old cakes of roses. 

Were thinly scattered to make up a show. 

" A True Description of all Professions," published at Frank- 
furt in 1568, with wood-cuts by Jost Amman, and words by the 



















Fig. 23- 

DRUG-STORE, ijsa. 

poetic son of St. Crispin, Hans Sachs, devotes a cut to the 
apothecaries guild (Figure 23), Above the shelves proper are 
cones of sugar. Ryff (" Family Physician ") says ; " Honey and 
sugar are the druggist's chief stock in trade. He uses it for his 
confects, electuaries, preserves, syrups, julips and other precious 

38 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

mixtures." Sugar, moreover, was one of the main sources of 
income for the sixteenth century druggist. This century was 
peculiarly unkind to the apothecaries, especially as they were 
involved in perpetual contentions with the physicians. 

From the twelfth century until the Reformation, Arabian phar- 
macy, with its complicated mixtures, had been in the ascendancy. 
But with the period of the Renaissance and the discovery of print- 
ing, came the study of the Greek classics, and Arabianism, with 
its complex therapeutics was banished from occidental medicine. 
The teachings of Hippocrates and other Greeks, and Averroes, 
dwelt largely on the dietetic, treatment of the sick. The services 
of the apothecary were, therefore, less demanded than formerly. 

The position of the pharmacist in England was a relatively 
high one. The separation of pharmacal from medical practice 
was almost complete in the sixteenth century in England. 
Bulleyn, " Queen Anne Bulleyn's cousin," a prominent apothe- 
cary, laid down the following rules for the practice of pharmacy : 

The apothecary must first serve God ; foresee the end, be cleanly, and pity 
the poor. His place of dwelling and shop must be cleanly, to please the senses 
withal. His garden must be at hand with plenty of herbs, seeds and roots. 
He must read Dioscorides. He must have his mortars, stills, pots, filters, 
glasses, boxes, clean and sweet. He must have two places in his shop, one 
most clean for physic and the base place for chirurgic stuff. He is neither to 
decrease nor diminish the physician's prescription. He is neither to buy nor 
sell rotten drugs. He must be able to open well a vein, for to help pleurisy. 
He is to meddle only in his own vocation, and to remember that his office is 
only to be the physician's cook. 

These rules, save, perhaps the last, are not so antiquated as 
to merit oblivion. Long after the division of the practice of 
medicine the apothecaries continued subordinate to the medical 
practitioner, who used all possible endeavors to subject them to 
his will. Jealousies arose between the two classes which occa- 
sioned endless disputes. 

In France these disputes assumed a somewhat farcical phase. 

The physicians, enraged at advice being given by apothecaries, 

determined to starve them out, and by prescribing only simple 

remedies from herbalists they subdued the rebel apothecary, 

obliging him to take the following oath : 

I swear and promise before God, the Author and Creator of all things, One 
in Spirit and divided in Three Persons, eternally blessed, that I will observe 
strictly the following articles : 

Pharmacy in the Sixteenth Century. 39 

First. I promise to live and die in the Christian faith. 

Second. To love and honor my parents to the utmost ; also, to honor, respect 
and render service, not only to the medical doctors who have imparted to me 
the precepts of pharmacy, but also to my teachers and masters from whom I 
have learned my trade. 

Third. Not to slander any of my ancient teachers or masters, whoever they 
may be ; also, to do all I can for the honor, glory and majesty of physic. 

Fourth. Never to teach to ungrateful persons or fools the secrets and 
mysteries of the trade ; never to do anything rashly without the advice of a 
physician, or from the sole desire of gain ; never to give any medicine or purge 
to invalids afflicted with acute disease without first consulting one of the faculty. 

Fifth. Never to examine woman privately, unless by great necessity, or to 
apply to them some necessary remedy; never to divulge the secrets confided to me. 

Sixth. Never to administer poisons, nor recommend their administration, 
even to our greatest enemies, nor to give drinks to produce abortion, without 
the advice of a physician, also to execute accurately their prescriptions, without 
adding or diminishing anything contained in them, that they may in every 
respect be prepared ^*^ secundem artemJ*"* 

Seventh. Never to use any succedaneum or substitute without the advice 
of others wiser than myself; to disown and shun as a pestilence the scandalous 
and pernicious practices of quacks, empirics and alchymists, which exist to the 
great shame of the magistrates who tolerate them. 

Lastly. To give aid and assistance indiscriminately to all who employ me, 
and to keep no stale or bad drug in my shop. May God continue to bless me 
so long as I continue to obey these things. 

In Belgium, where the profession had become overcrowded, it 
became necessary to limit the number. An act was passed in 
1582 that no one should open an apothecary shop who had not 
previously studied pharmacy during three years, and adduced 
theoretical and practical demonstrations of his knowledge and 
capabilities, and taken the oath of the body corporate. In 1585 
a further act was enacted regarding the sale of arsenic. In 
Bruges, in 1683, on complaint of the apothecaries, medical prac- 
titioners were forbidden to dispense under heavy penalty. During 
the first three days only of the annual fair were charlatans and 
tooth-drawers allowed in the town. Over-crowding had left its 
imprint on the profession elsewhere, notably in Amsterdam, Basel, 
Venice, Nuremburg, etc., with the result that the devices for mak- 
ing money that the apothecaries were compelled to adopt, threat- 
ened general disorganization. To mitigate this evil, the Emperor 
Charles V, at the Congress of Augsburg in 1548, decreed as follows : 

** It having come to our ears that deteriorated and spurious drugs are being 
dispensed on physicians* prescriptions, which, if taken into the system, will do 
more harm than good, we do herewith decree, that it is our will that the 

40 History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

authorities in matters pertaining to the apothecaries' trade, should annually 
visit and inspect their shops, and also fix the values of all materials there found, 
so that the buyer shall in no way be deceived." * 

This decree appears to have been heeded by the authorities 
and to have borne fruit, for on July 8, 155 1, the council of 
Nuremburg passed a number of resolutions, one of which ordains 
that " in future no new drug-store shall be established, nor shall 
a new one take the place of any which may be discontinued." 
When in 1578 Valerius Pfister found his business declining, the 
city council ordered the other sixth druggist to buy his shop, 
promising the latter that no new pharmacy " except the hospital 
pharmacy" (which was the eighth), should be tolerated in Nurem- 

Individual cities had instituted inspection of pharmacies at 
an earlier day, Bruges in 1497 and Nuremburg in 1442. But in 
the latter city all drug-stores were visited in one day ; hence 
the inspection cannot have been very thorough. Since phar- 
macists, even at this early day, were accused of overcharging, 
the evil was regulated by affixing a specific selling price to each 
drug. Though the purchasing power of coin at that time is no 
certain measure of its value now, yet the following apothecary's 
bill of the sixteenth century may throw some light on the prices 

of drugs ; 

Sir Paulus Bechaim. 

March 29th. Two draughts 64 f/g". 

30th. One heart-water 42 

Fresh cassia 56 

Rose honey 16 

Spices and herbs 56 

31st. Spices and herbs 42 

Minth 4 

April 30th. One heart-water 42 

Manna 4 /^. 18 

Head-wash 18 

Heart-flower 6 

Electuary 38 

Liver-water 24 

Draught 26 

Summa 2^. 2 /d. ^ pfg» 
Paid, April 30th, 155 1. 

Albrecht Pfister. 

* From " Collegium Pharmaceuticum" of the city of Nuremburg, p. 149. 

Pharmacy in the Sixteenth Century, 41 

Pharmacist Albrecht Pfister, who receipted this bill, was 
born in 1500 and died in 1564. He owned a drug-store in 
Binder Street, Nuremburg, still in existence and known as the 
" Star-Pharmacy." 

The condition of the drug trade is very lucidly pictured in a 

memorial of the druggists of Nuremburg, in 1581, to the council, 

defending themselves against charges made by physicians. 

Many complaints therein enumerated are even now frequently 

heard ; a few extracts from this memorial will therefore be of 

interest : 

May it please the Honorable Council to lend ear to our complaints, and in 
conformity therewith to see fit, in such a manner, to protect our interests, that 
henceforth we shall not be unduly oppressed by the physicians, and that each 
of us shall be enabled to enjoy the just results of his labors. The following, 
honorable sirs, forms the substance of our complaint : 

1. The sale of all confections, formerly dispensed by us, has now fallen 
into the hands of the sugar dealer. 

2. Counter sales are now made by all the large spice and cheap corner 
grocery shops, thus robbing the druggist of a source of profit that he is justly 
entitled to. 

3. The sale of sundries, such as sealing wax, fumigating pastiles, paper 
ink and pens, is now taking place in common huckster shops. 

4. The sugar dealers are not only selling confections but also all kinds 
of fruit juices, electuaries of quinces, and all such preserves that do not deterio- 
rate in the course of a year. 

5. All distilled waters, oils, and the like, which were formerly kept by 
druggists only, are now indiscriminately sold by any ignoramus who imagines 
himself qualified to engage in this traffic. 

6. Unguenta and Emplastra, which certainly belong to the exclusive 
field of pharmacy, are now dispensed by barbers and ignorant physicians, who 
are neither justified by precedent nor by qualification to handle these things. 

7. Now, many expensive medicamenta are, every year, carried over and 
deteriorate, because the doctors do not prescribe them, and they prove a total 
loss to the druggist. Of such medicines we will but enumerate the fruit juices, 
the purging elixir of roses, etc. ; furthermore, the ^^ electuaria solutiva^ tarn in 
liquida^ quam in solida forma^"*^ and the ** massa pillularum et trochiscorum 

In this summary it will be noticed the delightful confect tones 
are entirely forgotten. Species and confectiones comfortativae are 
also overlooked. The principal cause of this state of things is, 
that the "physicians are eternally devising new and extraor- 
dinary remedies." After dilating upon other more or less impor- 
tant points, the memorial further says : 






ff^lBllPlM - 



ODvom£CHt«G3TSIl«tfr<H«ITW«AUS AU.C11BN0STVVP wn/Dv-FcMOtm M| 


*VCHMNDTVKD*tlB.- HeM COT Dill' KTl-Fr *N VU5 BiStl, .0HS-I.E1" ffij 

Fig. 24. 

Pharmacy in the Sixteenth Century, 43 

** We were pained to learn that* the physicians have charged us with selling 
adulterated and injurious drugs, and declare that the public had on this 
account withdrawn its patronage from us. Self-preservation and honor demand 
that we no longer remain quiet under these accusations. Albeit, there may be 
persons who do not wish to deal with us, there are, nevertheless, numbers that 
prefer to be treated by us, and if we deny them the succor asked for, and send 
them to the physician, they will t)e displeased and go without any treatment what- 
ever. This much, also, is certain, that if we would dispense medicines in all 
cases where we are called upon to prescribe, we would shortly have more 
patients than the physicians. We have, furthermore, abundant proof that the 
physicians frequently overstep the boundary line of their field. They, for 
instance, prescribe in German, so that any barber or old woman can prepare 
the medicine, and the druggist is ignored." 

No further proof is needed that the golden age of pharmacy 
is not to be found in the past. 

Figure 24, from an etching dated 1565, in the Germanic 
Museum, depicts a representative sixteenth century pharmacist, 
named Cyriacus Schnaus, kneeling on his mortar absorbed in 
offering a fervent prayer. Schnaus practiced the black art, and 
is mentioned witji the printers of his time. He is known to have 
been engaged in literary pursuits. 

In Germany at the close of this century the services of the 
apothecary had become so important that in times of war 
regular field pharmacies were organized. Works were published 
in 1582 and 1596 giving directions for furnishing traveling and 
field pharmacies. The Nuremburg complaint made against the 
spicers and sugar-bakers indicates that grocers and herbalists 
were becoming separate occupations, and that the pharmacist 
was assuming more the position of a professional man and less 
that of a tradesman, considerably to his pecuniary detriment. 
Toward the end of the present century this tendency to separa- 
tion became especially marked in the Grocer's Company of 
England, which then included the apothecaries. The " Station- 
arii" and " Confectionarii" of the thirteenth century had become 
merged in the fourteenth, but were now beginning a final separa- 
tion into grocers, spicers, sugar-bakers, and apothecaries. 


* O Thou most righteous God, by Thine five holy wounds, stand by me in my anguish 
and want. Forgive me my sins and my shortcomings. Show me Thy mercy and tender- 
ness, and fortify me with patience and humbleness of heart. Deliver me from all sinful 
lust. In Thy hands I place body and soul. Protect me, () Lord, also my child and wife. 
O God, prove unto us Thy power. Thee we honor and praise. Listen to us, () Lord, and 
sleep lightly. Let Thine ejre rest upon us at all times. Be not far from us in out 
suffering. Keep us, O Lord, in all eternity. Amen. 

** What once we did as Nature's secret rate, 
We now do coolly investigate, 
And what once Dame Nature organized, 
Thjt is by us now crystallized." 

— Faust. 


chapter Sour. 

9Eiannac|| In tit* ■•n 

g'OOD-ENGRAVING, which had attained its highest 
development during the sixteenth century, was, 
at the beginning of the seventeenth century, sup- 
^^^'jjll planted by copper-plate, which had been grad- 
ually growing in favor. The wood-cut, from the 
time of the Thirty-years War down to the nineteenth century. 
fell into almost entire disuse. To the Englishman, Thomas 
Bewick, is due what might properly be called the rediscovery of 
the woodcut, early in the present century. Owing to the greater 
expense of the copper-print, the seventeenth century books con- 
tain much fewer illustrations than those of the time immediately 
precedent. This dearth of illustrations is discernible in the 
pharmacal publications of the period under consideration. 

Fig. 25 is a copperprint from the title-page of an ordinance 
concerning the tax regulations of drugs in the city of Nuremburg 
in 1652. It depicts the ancient classical medical authorities. To 
the left is the Greek physician, Hippocrates, and to the right 
Galenus of Pcrgamus, who practiced in Rome. 

The numerous additions to the materia medica of the seven- 
teenth century brought about a considerable change in the 
equipment of pharmacies. Two causes were influential in bring- 
ing about this increase in the materia medica, — the extensive 
introduction of American drugs, and the adaption of chemical 
remedies. The latter had, in isolated instances, been employed 
in the sixteenth century. The introduction of chemical remedies 
into therapeutics is largely due 10 "Philippus Theophra^tus 
Bombastus, of Hohenheim," known as "Paracelsus" (Figure 26). 

History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

He was born in 1490 near Einsiedeln, in the Canton Schwyz, 
and began his medical studies in the University of Basel. His 
extensive knowledge of the natural sciences, acquired during his 
sojourn at other renowned universities, his close observations 
during his extensive travels over Europe, together with his 


Fif . 16. 

(From a work, 1568). 

knowledge of medicine, eminently qualified him for the duties of 
city physician of Basel, which office he accepted in 1526, The 
following year he lectured at the university. 

In imitation of Luther, who had inaugurated his church 
reformation by burning the bulls of the Pope, Paracelsus began 

Pharmacy in the Seventeenth Century, 49 

his reformatory activity by burning the highly prized works of 
the Arabian, Avicenna, "the Prince of Physicians," and those 
of other medical authorities, on St. John's day, in the year 
1527, exclaiming, " I have burned all these books so that all 
misery may be carried away with their smoke." Like Luther, 
he discarded Latin, and wrote the greater number of his books 
in German, the language of the people, a proceeding directly 
opposed to all customs and usages. He afterward boasted that 
he had not read a book in ten years. He protested that his 
shoebuckles were more learned than Galen and Avicenna. He 
had a dogma of his own. This man, in whom learning and 
quackery were so singularly combined, " believed that the human 
body was a microcosm," which corresponded to the "macro- 
cosm," and contained in itself all parts of visible nature, sun, 
moon, stars and the poles of heaven. Disease, according to his 
mystical conception, was not natural but spiritual. Therefore 
some remedy had to be introduced which was antagonistic, not 
to the disease in a physical sense, but to the spiritual seed of the 
disease. These remedies were called "Arcana," a word which 
implied a mysterious connection between the remedy and the 
essence of the disease and in its relation to medicine, somewhat 
akin to the word " specific," at the present day. 

Great importance was attached to chemically prepared reme- 
dies, as containing the essence or spiritual quality of the material 
from which they were derived. His followers were therefore 
known as "chemical" physicians. The most notorious of that 
school in England was a certain Anthony. Paracelsus still 
accepted the old physical elements, but attributed qualities to 
them more in conformity with modern views. Altogether he held 
that his "arcana" were semi-spiritual beings like the "quinta 
essentia" of Aristotle ; he nevertheless believed that he could 
dissolve or extract them by means of water, alcohol, or acids. 
While his principle was fallacious and led to many errors, it 
nevertheless contributed to the displacement of the complicated 
galenical preparations by the discovery of tinctures, extracts, and 
metallic salts, thereby very materially simplifying the art of pre- 
scribing. He believed God had ordained that man should be 
guided by the outward forms and psychical impressions of objects 
in nature, in applying remedies in disease ; and he accordingly 

50 History of Ancient Pharmafy. 

chose his remedies, not on the principle of their action, but on 
their resemblance or sympathetic relations to the patient and his 
disease. In this wise the notorious teachings of the " Signatures" 
were revived, which under different names had swayed the minds 
of men in ancient times. 

On the strength of these and similar earlier notions the doc- 
trines of "similia similibus curantnr" were at a later day adopted 

by Hahnemann, as a fundamental principle in homceopathy. 
After the death of Paracelsus his adherents rapidly multiplied. 

At the beginning of the seventeenth century two antagonistic 
parties lay claim to the true science of medicine, — the Galenists 
and the Paracelsists. Their animosity grew deeper and deeper, 
and whilst the Thirty-years War was devastating Germany, battle- 
cries of a different character were influencing the minds of con- 
tending parties in the realm of j^vsculapius. But the Galenico- 
Arabian school, which had succeeded in 1643 at Paris in having 
an edict issued forbidding the use of metallic salts, was finally 
vanquished. The medicinal preparations of Paracelsus (tinctures, 
extracts, and chemicals) secured recognition in pharmacy. 

Pharmacy in the SeTCiileeiith Centiiiy. 

Chemistry, which thus far had been subordinated to alchei 
hypotheses, triumphantly entered the laboratories of the seven- 
teenth century, and electuaries like mithridates and theriac were 
supplanted by more strictly scientific preparations. The pictur- 
esquely descriptive methods of the old alchemists were not suited 
to the more simple and scientific manipulations instituted. When 
chemistry, therefore, entered the service of medicine, more rational 


modes of expression were adopted. One Oswald Troll, physician 
to the Prince of Anhalt, made himself conspicuous in 1608 by 
publishing his "Basilica chymica," in which he gives very intel- 
ligible directions for the preparation of chemicals. The Parisian 
druggist, Nicholas Lemery, was particularly instrumental in paving 
the way for this innovation, by publishing his work, " Cours de 
Chiraie," in 1675. This work evinced a lucid style unknown 
before his day, which soon secured for it a translation into English, 
German, Spanish, Italian, and Latin. 

5 2 History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

The principal changes connected* with pharmacy in the 
seventeenth century, took place in the laboratory. Some of 
these are to be observed in Figure 28, taken from a religious work 
of 1663. On the portable stove is a distilling apparatus, now 
out of use, which consists of a simple glass retort and helm 
or cover, known as an " alembic," from " anfii\ {a cover).^* Pos- 
sibly, at this very moment, the liquor crani humani was in 
process of distillation, for just about this time the notion pre- 
vailed that all medicines for man must be obtained out of the 
microcosmos itself. Nicolas Lemery says, in " Cours de Chimie," 
that the officinal human skull, " cranium humanum," must be 
procured from a young, vigorous, and but recently killed and as 
yet unburied man, to secure all the " principia activa.** This 
distillate was good for the " falling sickness," gout, apoplexy, 
somnolency, and dysmenorrhoea. It was a diaphoretic and a 
powerful antidote for poisons. From this it would appear that 
the old fetichism held its own in the realm of therapeutics. 
In 1663 the chemist Joseph Bechler, in his "Parnassus Medicin- 
alis Illustratus," enumerates the following diseases that the differ- 
ent parts of the human body will cure, as follows : 

Powdered human bone in red wine will cure dysentery. The marrow and 
oil distilled from bone is good for rheumatism. Prepared human skull is a sure 
cure for the falling sickness. Moss grown on a skull is an hsemostatic. Mummy 
dissolves coagulated blood, relieves cough and pain in the spleen, and is also 
very beneficial in flatulency and delayed menstruation. Human fat, when 
properly rubbed into the skin, restores weak limbs. The wearing of a belt 
made of human skin facilitates labor and mitigates its pain. Water distilled 
from human hair and mixed with honey promotes the growth of hair," etc. 

Fig. 29 (from the same work as the preceding picture) shows 
the interior of an apothecary's shop. It does not present any 
striking improvement over those of the previous century, though 
the apothecaries had advanced in scientific attainments to a 
marked degree. They not only cultivated chemistry, but also 
earnestly entered upon the study of botany. From the total lack 
of system in botanical works of the day, it was extremely diffi- 
cult to recognize plants by their mere description. Caesalpinus, 
professor of botany at Pisa, had, at the close of the sixteenth 
century, endeavored to classify the plant world in fifteen classes, 
according to their flowers and fruits, but his work was not gen- 

Pharmacy in Ihf Seventeenth Century. 


erally accepted, and the necessity of illustrations to convey cor- 
rect ideas of plants, was much greater than at the present day. 
The botanical works of the sixteenth century were therefore 
elaborately supplied with wood-cuts. In the seventeenth cen- 
tury, the copper-print takes their place. The first large work of 
the kind illustrated with the latter, is the " Hortus Eystettensis," 
published by the druggist, Easilius Besler, in 1613. The illustra- 

Fig. 29. 

DRUG-STORE, i66]. 

tions arc very artistic and true to nature, anii hardly ecHpsed by 
modern productions. The plants are classified without reference 
either to their structure or time of florescence. The author 
could not, however, abstain from incorporating his portrait, of 
which Fig. 30 is a reduced copy. The margin bears this inscrip- 
tion : 

"Basil. Besler Noricus, ariis pharmaceullcse, chymicEe amalar singularis 
rei herbaria; studiosus aetatis suae 51 anDo 1612." 

This would indicate that he was born in 1561, From the annals 
of the Collegii Pharmaceutici it appears that he was the proprie- 

Hislory of Ancient Pharmacy. 


tor of the Haymarket pharmacy in Nuremburg from 1586 to 
1629) when he died. This drug-store was discontinued in 1792- 
After the death of Besler, botany was extensively studied by the 
di-uggists of Nuretnburg, To this end, they in 1668 associated 

Pharmacy in the Seventeenth Century, 55 

themselves with the physicians, and thereafter it was their cus- 
tom to make botanical excursions in common, in the fall and 
and spring of the year, and such plants which were found to pos- 
sess peculiar medicinal properties, were classified and described 
in the Annals of the College of Physicians. A trip of this kind 
was called an " herbation.'* These herbations ordinarily wound 
up with a banquet in a neighboring town, or in a club-room in 
the city. These gatherings were anything but dry and formal 
affairs, as the surviving specimens of their poetry revel in melo- 
dious rhyme. 

That excessive abstinence did not injure the physician and 
pharmacist becomes evident from the magnitude of the accom- 
panying bill from among the archives of the Nuremburg "Col- 
legii Pharmaceutici ** 

To Mr. Wurffbain's Herbation, May 16, i6g8, at which nineteen persons 

were present. 

2 Dishes Stew. , Florin, 3.20 

2 Meat pics, 12 chickens and veal ** 7.40 

2 Dishes, 3 sour tongues " 1.48 

I Dish, 8 lbs. fish •* 2.40 

1 '* 6 Geese ** 336 

2 Dishes, 12 chickens ** 4.48 

1 Dish, 2 Rabbits and 10 wild ducks ** 4 14 

2 Dishes, 36 cheese cakes ** i 12 

2 ** Lobsters *' 1.44 

2 " Hop balls '* 1.36 

I Westphaliun ham ** 2.C0 

Collation '* 3 .00 

Wheat and rye bread • • .46 

1 Barrel of Wine and i pail *• 24.48 

Waiter ** .45 

2 Dishes of asparagus ** i .44 

6 Plates of raddish '* .24 

Florin, 62.45 
Christoi'H Zinnerer, 

Wine Merchant. 

N, B. — Together, 19 persons. Makes for each person, 4 Florin and 4 

These gentlemen evidently knew how to combine business 
with pleasure. In any event it is apparent that the druggists of 
Nuremberg, at least, did not maintain an indifferent attitude 

Pharmacy in the Seventeenth Century. 57 

toward the natural sciences, and that they contributed a very 
respectable share to the fundamental material upon which, in 
the eighteenth century, Becher, Stahl, Lavoisier, Linnaeus, Cad- 
wallader Golden, Steele, Priestley and others reared the grand 
superstructures of chemistry and botany. 

The education of the pharmacist was still largely based on 
his trade experiences, although those who adopted the profes- 
sion were obliged to possess some knowledge of Latin. The 
apprenticeship lasted from five to six years, and at the end of 
this time the apprentice was, by his master, created a "journey- 
man." The certificate issued on such occasions was of great 
elegance, frequently elaborately ornamented, and written on 
parchment. The accompanying illustration is a reduced copy 
of one of those issued in 1743, the original of which exists in the 
Germanic Museum. 

The journeyman apothecary was usually obliged to pass an 
examination before the Decanum Collegii at the time of applying 
for a situation. The duties of a drug clerk were embodied in the 
following regulations : 

Every journeyman apothecary shall take an oath that he will faithfully 
serve, not only his master, but also the members of the community at large. 
That he will prepare all medicines **secundem artem,*' and of pure drugs, 
whether they be such as are annually examined by the authorities or not. 
That he will dispense no poison, opiate or emmenagogue without the knowl- 
edge of the master, or endanger the life of any one by his carelessness. That 
he will not deliberately change a physician's prescription, and will abstain from 
excessive indulgence in intoxicating drinks, and will at all times set a good ex- 
ample to the apprentice. That he will not leave the shop without the knowl- 
edge of the master, and particularly not absent himself at night. That he will 
be devoted to his master, to the Visitatori Medico, and to each of the doctors of 
the incorporated CoUegio Medico. He shall swear that he will do all this 
according to his best ability." 

On assuming control of a pharmacy as a proprietor, he was 
required to pass a supplementary examination. Apothecaries 
ranked with the third estate. When, in the seventeenth century, 
it became customary for apothecaries in Germany to take an 
academic course, they claimed to rank with the learned class, 
and emphasized this by wearing " caput-coats '* and sabres. 
Tradespeople were not allowed to wear sabres, hence the police 
interfered and suppressed this demonstration of their budding 

58 History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

greatness. Thereupon the combined apothecaries of Nuremburg 
petitioned the Council, dilating upon the injustice of the action 
taken against them. They refer to the fact that in other cities, 
Frankfurth, Ulm, Strassburg, Augsburg and Vienna, while trades- 
people were debarred from the wearing of sabres, apothecaries, 
nevertheless, are allowed to do so. This is no more than just, 
since many have matriculated at universities, some have attended 
academies, and others have even graduated as doctors. " This 
injunction,*' they further say, " rests all the more heavily upon 
us, when we consider that our profession is not a trade, but is in 
reality a free art." 

This petition, whose results are not recorded, clearly demon- 
strates that the social position of the pharmacists then, as now, 
was somewhat disputed in Germany, when contrasted with that 
of the technical practitioners, the learned and the tradesmen. 
That the prominent position of the pharmacist should have led 
satirists to attack their short-comings was but natural. Father 
" Abraham a Sancta Clara," in " Description of All Professions 
and Trades," published in 1699, usually deals very leniently with 
them, but can not abstain from a gentle reprimand. " On the 
whole," he says, " the druggists can not be too highly praised, 
and, if it were possible, their glory should be written in lines of 
potable gold which they know how to prepare so skillfully. 
Their daily life also is, for the most part, religious and faultless. 
Still one also finds some who have many ' scruples ' in their shops, 
but never allow ' scruples * to interfere in their dealings with their 
fellow man. They boast of having in stock all kinds of Medica- 
menta, such as Emollientia, Resolventia, Condensentia, Aperi- 
entia, Constipantia, Attrahentia, Repercutientia, Abstergentia, 
Expurgantia, Attenuantia, Illinentia, Maturahtia, Conglutinantia, 
Cientia, Expellentia, etc., but more frequently one finds there 
Fallentia ; that is, superannuated species, that are more harmful 
than beneficial to the patient. This results from a habit they 
have of buying, at a cheap price, goods that have been kept in 
stock at some grocers from time immemorial, and that smell 
worse than Lazarus in his grave. Then you will frequently meet 
with a druggist who has spent his entire apprenticeship behind 
the mortar, and knows nothing about any * crout ' (herb) excepting 
it be the ' sour ' kind, which he will recognize when it is cooked 

Pharmacy in the Srrcnteenth Century. 59 

with a saddle of pork. Then, again, he will make more mistakes 
than the children of the prophet in the days of Elisha, who 
gathered in the bitter colocynth in place of healing herbs." 

Moscherosch, a seventeenth century satirist, displays a cyn- 
ically sarcastic feeling toward the medical world. In a book 
published in 1643, ^^ ^^y^ • 

'' The drug-shops are veritable arsenals, and the keepers 
thereof, the druggists, are gunsmiths in the service of the 
Medicis." " For," says he, " everything you find in their shops 
remind one of war and war-implements. There is, in the first 
place, the mortar ^ ¥rith its very appropriate name, which seems 
to barricade and break down the gates of the human system. 
The syringe, when it projects the enema, may be likened unto a 
pistol. The pills are the musket balls. The Medici stand for 
grim death himself. The Medicamentia purgantia are the gen- 
uine fire of purgatorium ; the barbers are the devils, and the 
drug shop is a diminutive hades, whilst the patient represents 
the poor, lost and condemned souL The druggists display in 
their shops slips of paper covered with strange and wonderful 
hieroglyphs, that neither Vitzliputzli or Tlaloc of Mexico, nor 
Vlastu of Cusco, nor Quetzaalcoale of Chalula, nor the Chiappa 
Cariba, nor Tamaraca of Brazil, nor the Deumus of Calechut, 
, nor the Novientium of the Alsacians of old, nor Mercurius of 
Speyer, nor the Natagia of the Tartar^ could decipher. The 
directions on these papers are usually preceded by ' Rec,' which 
in fact stands for per decern, and means that one prescription 
out of ten may help, or, more properly speaking, that of ten 
patients one may escape. They are called patients when they 
get into the hands of the fraternity, for from that moment they 
are condemned to suffer all the tortures of the damned." 

" Furthermore, we meet with the word * Ana,' which little word 
we derive from the French 'Asne* or 'Ane* (ass, fool), but 
really originates from Ana, the son of Zibeon, who invented the 
mule whilst herding his father's jackasses in the desert, and what 
word could more appropriately serve as an affix to a prescription 
than *Ana,* since it takes but a careless ass to deprive an 
honest man of health and life. And then come the * Drachmae,* 
* Unciae,' * Scrupuli,* * Grana,' which have the shape of snakes, 
scorpions, and blind-worms, or at least are possessed of their 

6o History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

venom. And all these beautiful things so comfort the patient 
that his soul would almost take flight at sight of them. And then 
they apply such outlandish Indian and Turkish names to their 
simples and other foul herbs, that one would imagine they 
intended to conjure old Satan himself. Such names for instance 
as Opoponach, Tregoricarum, Petroselinum, Herba Borith, 
Chamaespartion, Diaphaeniconis, Scolopendrion, Diatrionpi- 
pereon, Ophiostaphylon, Zoophthalmon, etc., which, upon close 
examination, prove to be every-day parsley, cornflower, sanicle, 
houseleek, tamarisk, juniper, red white, and yellow carrots, and 
the like. They call beans and lentils by such strange names to 
tempt the patient's curiosity and induce him to pay an extra 
price for the same. Their mixtures are frequently so loathsome, 
as to taste and odor, that one would expect to see the worst dis- 
ease leave the body in haste to escape the contamination. The 
designation, medical composita^ is another term to the point, for 
when your druggist mixes pepper and mouse-dung, and runs it 
through the mill, he may dispense it with a clear conscience, for 
the patient is paying his money for a remedy that is clearly as 
composite as the most exacting can desire." That the druggists 
should have haunted Mosercsch in his dreams was not sur- 
prising. One of these dreams he describes as follows : 

"Then there followed a rabble of apothecaries with mortars, 
jingling pestles, suppositoria, balneis mariae, spatula, syringes, etc., 
which were all loaded with deadly missiles and powder. They 
also carried many boxes and bottles labeled * medicine,' but in 
reality containing poison only." 

On another occasion he says : " After considering this matter 
in all earnestness, I have come to the conclusion that all this 
mourning and lamenting we are obliged to bestow upon the 
dead, is really ushered in by the death-knell of the pestles on the 
walls of the apothecaries' mortar, and only ceases with the 
requiem and the sounding of the church bell." 

It is of interest to note that in Italy, Zacchias, during this 
century, advanced the view that there were self-generated poisons, 
which is practically the view at present held concerning the 
ptomaines and leucomaines of Selmi and Brieger. In England 
the existence of the Apothecaries Company seems to have placed 
the social status of .the apothecaries on a pretty well-defined 

Pharmacy in the Seventeenth Century 

basis. The apothecary held la popular estimation and social 
dignity a place close to the physician Physicians to the king 
were always accompanied by a staff of apothecaries. At the 
death-bed of Charles II both appear, and the administration of 
a volatile preparation from a human skull indicates that his 
disease was looked upon rather as " falhng sickness" than apo- 
plexy. The coffee-houses of this period, which were a leading 

j^a ^-^ 

feature of its social life, were visited by both physicians and 
apothecaries at certain times of the day under circumstances 
which show that both were regarded as members of a common 

William Harvey, the demonstrator of the circulation of the 
blood, was a staunch friend of the Apothecaries Company, and 
aided it with Charles I. He was a great student of pharma- 
cology, and did not regard the use of animal products with much 
favor. He is often mentioned as visiting the coffee houses in 
company with apothecaries. 

62 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

Pharmacy in English speaking America during the seven- 
teenth century was largely based on English usages, more or less 
modified by practices derived from the Indians. As a result, a 
great many quack doctors and apothecaries sprang into promi- 
nence. These led Virginia to attempt the legal regulation of 
those who charged exorbitant fees, for in 1636 a law was passed 
regulating the fees of surgeons and apothecaries. Prominent 
among the early Virginian colonists who were at once surgeons 
and apothecaries was Dr. Edward Heldon, who had been a friend 
and pall-bearer of Shakespere. In Massachusetts, pharmacy 
was largely in the hands of the Indians, schoolmasters, old 
women and clergymen. The last were generally skilled apoth- 
ecaries, who had learned pharmacy during periods of persecution, 
and practiced it for ostensible means of subsistence while preach- 
ing. The Rev. Jacob Green was at once lawyer, schoolmaster, 
miller, distiller, apothecary and physician. The witchcraft epi- 
demic brought the practitioners of pharmacy into suspicion as 
selling poison for spells. As a rule the general merchants sold 
drugs to the apothecaries. As early as 1647 Giles Firmin, of 
Boston, had firmly established himself as devoting special atten- 
tion to pharmacy. In 1646 the first store distinctly devoted to 
pharmacy was opened in Boston by William Davies. 

Under the Duke of York's government, the province of New 
Jersey made an attempt to regulate the practice of apotliecaries 
in 1664, which provided for penalties for injury. In New York 
there was a tendency exhibited to separate pharmacy from medi- 
cine. The quacks were exceedingly numerous in the city, and 
attempts were made to punish them for infraction of the Duke's 
laws passed in 1664. In 1689, when the revolution broke out, 
one work held in esteem in the practice of pharmacy, was Sal- 
mon's Herbal, originally printed in London in 1676. During 
the end of the seventeenth and early eighteenth century it was 
in high repute among American pharmacists. 


Fig- J7. 

" W;fh ^XMitii \/^>ttii roBnd tac stacked, 
AfA i;i;tr .mcnt* together hur'.e-i, 
Ari''^^ffai lirr.r/^r, sraftcd ar.d paiiccrl — 
S .r^h \% taj world ! and what a vtjrM r '* 

— I' A "ST. 


CSairfer Siw. 

VfiaonacB *■> tl|* Stglitanitfi Cnttncn. 

aHE contentions of the Apothecaries and the Sur- 
geons in England had resulted in the victory of 
apothecaries by the passage of Act 34, Henry VIII, 
ir. 1543, which protected them in counter prescrib- 
ing. James I, in 1608, united them with the 
grocers, under the title of the " Warden and Commonalty of the 
Mystery of Grocers." To do this he revoked the charter of the 
old Grocers and Apothecaries Company. In 1617 the apothe- 
caries were finally separated from the grocers, and the Apothe- 
caries Company was created. This became a very important 
body, as the apothecary was now regarded as a practitioner of a 
medical specialty rather than a mere merchant. By degrees they 
gained so much public. confidence, and began to take so active a 
part in the practice of medicine, that they had the audacity, when 
preparing an electuary or bolus, to reason on the propriety of its 
administration, to recommend a polypharmaceutical physician in 
preference to a prescriber of simples. To crown all, they began 
visiting patients themselves. This state of affairs occasioned 
a great variety of publications. The coarse wit and low abuse 
which abounded in these publications, are an evidence of the 
general ignorance of the contending parties, although some men 
of eminence might occasionally have been led into the errors 
of their contemporaries. 

In 1665 a curious work was published by Dr. Record, "The 

Urinal of Physic." This contained an appendix, "A Treatise 

Concerning the Abuses of Physicians and Apothecaries." This 

treatise states that the latter "actually ventured to give purges, 


Pharmacy in the Eighteenth Century. 67 

without the advice of the physician," which was in those days 
considered a serious offense. Every year added to the list of 
offenses. They were accused by the physicians of all sorts of 
misdeeds. In 1696 the College of Physicians established their 
own dispensary. The accusations continually directed against 
the apothecaries for selling bad medicines, furnished an excellent 
excuse for the formation of a joint-stock company,- and the 
establishment of a laboratory at their hall for their own use, and 
for supplying members with drugs. This resulted in great injury 
to the manufacturing chemists and druggists ; for, not content 
with supplying their own members, they obtained the orders of 
government for medical stores. The physicians, on the other 
hand, obtained the well known "Act for the Better Viewing of 
Drugs, etc., for Ten Miles Around London," which gave the 
apothecaries great offense, and occasioned the publication of a 
variety of squibs on both sides. 

The pharmacists appear to have placed the profession on a 
sounder basis at this time preparatory to entering on a more 
promising era. That the apothecary's life had by this time 
experienced a vast improvement is shown by the more elaborate 
furnishing of the shops and laboratories. 

Figure 37 on the title page depicted the provinces of nature 
that have at various times sustained the reign of ^Esculapius. 
The picture is taken from the " Lexicon Pharmaceutico-Chymi- 
cum," by J. C. Sommerhoff, published in 1701. The marked 
preponderance of scroll-work at once stamps it as the product 
of a time when the renaissance style had degenerated into the 
pseudo-classical, and there were foreshadowings of the rococo 
period. Although the author, as pictured in Figure 38, wears a 
wig of very respectable proportions, he had not yet adopted the 
cue which became a craze in this pseudo-classical period, 
styled by the Germans " Die Zopfzeit " (the cue or tail period). 
But he lived to see King Frederic I introduce the cue into the 
army. The " Lexicon " was prefaced by poetic effusions by 
SommerhofTs friend. The burden of these were the glorification 
of himself and his labors. Despite SommerhofTs undeniable 
indebtedness to similar works of lesser scope, one of his friends 
indulges in the following : 

I the Ei^hUenth Century. 

" May the result of his labors and pnins in the past, 
With his name, like pure gold, elernally last." 

As a slight contribution to the realization of this wish, his 
. portrait is here introduced, more especially as it serves at the 
same time lo give an excellent idea of a representative pharma- 
cist of the eighteer ih enlui \ 

Fig. 39 depicts the court- pharmacy at Rastatt. A Latin 
inscription beneath the original reads : " This picture was dedi- 
cated to his most gracious master, the Commander-in-Chief o( 
the army, Ludwig William, Count of Baden, by pharmacist Joh. 
L, Kellner." Kellne^, who bought this pharmacy in 1697, had 
doubtless served under this count as a field -apothecary during 
mpaign against the Turks, since a field-pharmacy, pre- 
served in this store for two hundred years, has recently been 
turned over to the Germanic Museum. 


History of AiuUnl Pharmacy. 

Fig. 40 represents the old " Star Pharmacy " at Nuremburg as 
it'appeared before its removal to its present quarters in Binder 
street. Much of the old furniture, boxes and bottles were 
brought over to the new stand at the time of the removal (1728), 
and remain to the present day. The drawers are similar to 

those of modern construction The bottles and containers for 
fluids, in lieu of ground stoppers, are furnished with a zinc cap, 
which is screwed down over the neck of the bottles. The beau- 
tiful and richly-painted majolica ware, made in Italy and in use 
in Europe from the sixteenth century to the middle of the eight- 
eenth, is to be seen in the " Star Pharmacy " at the present day. 
When the ornamental majolica ware was supplanted by sober 
white china the pharmacies were deprived of much of their 
quaint and picturesque appearance. The discovery of porcelain 

Pharmacy in the Eighteenth Century* 71 

by Joh. F. Boettcher caused the more expensive majolica to Call 
into disuse. Boettcher began his chemical studies in a Berlin 
drug-store laboratory in 1701. His master, " Zorn/' was engaged 
in alchemistic studies, and Boettcher had an excellent oppor- 
tunity for learning the secrets of the art. His remarkably suc- 
cessful experiments soon gave him the reputation of being able, 
by the aid of some secret agency, to make gold. When this 
rumor reached the ears of King Frederic I of Prussia he ordered 
his arrest, but Boettcher, receiving timely warning, escaped to 
Saxony. Fearing that the fugitive would be kidnapped by the 
Prussians, who had demanded his extradition, he was brought 
to Dresden for greater safety. The Saxon ruler himself soon 
became convinced that Boettcher could make gold, and demanded 
the secret. Boettcher refused to comply, and was placed under 
strict surveillance, and practically imprisoned. He was coaxed 
by his guards to prosecute his experimental search for the 
philosopher's stone, and, in 1704, accidentally discovered brown 
jasper, and, in 1709, white porcelain. The latter, in 17 10, 
became a staple manufacture of Meissen under the direction of 
Boettcher. From the middle of the eighteenth century it was in 
general use in the pharmacies. 

Figure 41 shows the interior of a drug-store at Klattau, 
Bohemia. The present proprietor of the store relates that the 
pharmacy was established by the Jesuits in 1733, who controlled 
their own artisans, and introduced the same style of architecture 
as that in vogue in their churches. At the time of their expul- 
sion in 1 8 10 the business went into private hands. The peculiar 
scroll-like embellishments of the rococo period are absent. 
This work, therefore, belongs to the period immediately pre- 
cedent, styled, as before mentioned, the " Zopfzeit '* period. 

Figure 42 (from "A Text-book of the Apothecaries Act," by 
Karl Hagen, 1778) represents the laboratory of the court-phar- 
macy at Koenigsberg. The fire-place and distilling apparatus 
are particularly conspicuous, and in their construction approach 
modern appliances. Karl Hagen, who lived in the latter half of 
the eighteenth century, superintended this laboratory, and was 
professor of physics and chemistry at the university. Beside 
the "Text-book of the Apothecaries Art," of which eight editions 
were published, he wrote "The Elements of Experimental 

History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

Chemistry," and "The Fundamental Principles of Chemistry." 
Hagen, therefore, exerted a great influence in the education of 
the pharmacists of his time. The wide experience evident in 
these works was no doubt gathered by him in the laboratory 
here pictured. 

The practice of pharmacy in the eighteenth century was by 
no means as remunerative as has been asserted Its field was as 
much invaded by grocers spice dealers distdlers etc as it 

Fig. 4!- 

now is by notion dealers, etc. The archives of the Nuremburg 
Collegii Pharmaceutics are encumbered with memorials respect- 
ing the grievances of the apothecaries and the replies of the 
accused thereto. These memorials are, as a rule, only a reca- 
pitulation of similar complaints cited in preceding centuries. 
In some instances the druggists suffered pecuniary losses from 
causes entirelj' of their own creation. One was the habit of 
sending New Year's presents to physicians and to customers, 
which had grown to such proportions that the government inter- 
fered. The Anspach Gazette, November 23, 1796, contains this 
announcement : 

Since the practice among apolheciiries of E>*'i"E New Year's gifts to phy- 
licians and patients has been extensively abuseil. it should Torthwith be discon- 
tinued. Apolhecaries are therefore forbidden under severe penalty (o continue 
IhU destructive aod demoralizing practice. Tliis order is herewith made known 
to the general public. Thb Secretary of State AWD War, 

Nov. 1 5, 1796. 

Pharmacy in the Eighteenth Century. 73 

Although the eighteenth century pharmacists, more than ever 
before, were intent upon surrounding themselves with a scientific 
halo, and dubbed their apprentices ** Discipuli," and the jour- 
neyman clerks "Subjecti," their education was still rudimentary, 
and but few possessed scientific attainments. A thorough knowl- 
edge of the natural sciences was not demanded, and what they 
knew was limited to what could be acquired in every-day experi- 
ences. The renowned Fr. Hoffman, who was professor at Halle 
from 1694 to 1743, in defining what knowledge the apothecary 
should possess, says : *' The apothecary should know that an 
acid and an alkali, when brought in contact, will effervesce. It 
will suffice if he but know the effect, although he may be igno- 
rant of the cause." Unflattering as Hoffman's assertion may 
seem, he was in the main correct in his premises. The learned 
apothecary, Trommsdorf, of Erfurt, takes a similar view of the 
state of pharmacy in the eighteenth century. Speaking of his 
apprenticeship, he says : " Rarely did I find men that approached 
my ideal. More frequently, on the other hand, I met with in- 
competency and slovenliness. Seldom, even, did I find a proper 
appreciation of the pharmacist's important calling by the gen- 
eral public. Pharmacy was almost universally looked upon as 
a trade, and the pharmacist as a mere tradesman. This fact 
pained me the more, the firmer I became convinced that phar- 
macy is a worthy branch of the natural sciences, and its devo- 
tees deserve the honors so freely bestowed on workers in other 
departments of the sciences. But how few of the druggists 
themselves were permeated by the importance of their calling !" 

The recognition of this deplorable state of affairs induced 
Trommsdorf to employ all his powers in the furtherance of the 
art of pharmacy. In 1794 he published a pharmacal journal, 
and in 1795 founded a chemico-pharmacal institute, which met 
"a long felt want," since the universities were not yet supplied 
with laboratories adapted to the requirements of pharmacists. 
The studies in this institute embraced logic, mathematics, 
physics, botany, zoology, mineralogy, chemistry and pharmacy. 
Thus an opportunity was offered for the study of the branches 
of pharmacy which are at the present day a part of the univer- 
sities. The result of this innovation was to lift pharmacy from 
its humble sphere and elevate it to the dignity of a scientific 

74 History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

profession. Many apothecaries of the eighteenth century gained 
renown in the field of the sciences, in evidence of which the 
names of Ehrhart, Funk, Hudson, Geoffroy, Marggraf, Scheele, 
Weigleb, etc., etc., may be cited. They belonged to the apothe- 
cary's class, and will always be remembered in connection with 
chemistry and botany. The question, at times propounded, 
whether these men acquired their prominence because of their 
having been pharmacists, or in spite of or independent of this 
fact, can hardly be answered in a manner which will redound to 
the credit of pharmacy. 

Dr. Dover, the inventor of Dover's powder, had been edu- 
cated as an apothecary, and was a great friend and pupil of 
Sydenham. He began practice in Bristol, England, but despite 
his drug-store adjunct to practice, did not make a great financial 
success. Some merchants fitted out privateers, which were very 
successful in taking Spanish ships. He sailed with them as 
physician, and on February 2, 1708, visited Juan Fernandez, 
where he found and brought away Alexander Selkirk, the origi- 
nal of "Robinson Crusoe." In 1711 he began practice in 
London, and apothecaries and patients consulted him at the 
Jerusalem Coffee House. The originator of Fowler's solution, 
Thomas Fowler, of Stratford, was born in 1736. He also had 
beeii educated as an apothecary. Dr. Steer, the introducer of 
opodeldoc, a native of England, was a prominent apothecary of 
the eighteenth century. 

In Ireland, during this period, the metrology was exceedingly 
confused ; troy weight and avoirdupois were both used by apoth- 
ecaries, and many complaints resulted. 

The social status of the pharmacist in some of the American 
provinces during the early part of the eighteenth century is shown 
by the enumeration of Jas. Tagree among the prominent citizens 
of New York City, in 1703, as an apothecary. The only other 
legally recognized apothecary in the province of New York, for 
a number of years, was Governor Hunter, who presided over the 
destinies of the colony for the decade, ending 1719. The Van 
Burens soon after began the practice of pharmacy in New York. 
They had, as early as 1706, practised pharmacy in New Bruns- 
wick, N. J., and Philadelphia. Their preparation, "The Red 
Drop," retained its reputation late into the nineteenth century. 

Pharmacy in the Eighteenth Century. 75 

John Johnstone practiced pharmacy at Perth Amboy early in 
the eighteenth century. He was very active in public service, 
and occupied several important positions. Some of his descend- 
ants still continue to practice pharmacy. 

The first patent medicine yy^as called " Tuscarora Rice," sold 
as a "consumption cure," by a Mrs. Masters, in 171 1, and had a 
wide-spread reputation. She erected a large manufactory, and 
probably inaugurated the patent medicine trade in the United 
States. Indian medicine men of the " Sagwa " variety, and 
other traveling quacks, perambulated the country, selling worth- 
less decoctions. These were stopped in New Jersey, in 1772, by 
a law passed at the instance of the State Medical Society which 
had been established in 1766. This law prohibited practice by 
mountebank doctors, or the sale of drugs or medicines by them. 
Under this act most of the drug-stores were run by licensees. 
The general merchants sold the crude drugs, and not infrequently 
came into conflict with the law. 

Among the prominent practitioners of pharmacy in this cen-^ 
tury was the Rev. Jonathan Dickinson, of Elizabethtown, N. J., 
who wrote on the preparation of the ordinary vegetable drugs of 
America for medicinal use. Dr. Lawrence Vanderveer, of Mill- 
stone, N. J., was another pharmacist who gained celebrity by his 
introduction of Scutellaria into medicine. Mr. Robert Eastburn, 
of New Brunswick, published a pharmacal work entitled a 
"Collection of Receipts," in 1755. 

Later in the century, the mental activity consequent on the 
American Revolution resulted in the publication of the works of 
Schoepf and Barton on Materia Medica, and the publication, in 
1778, of an army pharmacopoeia under the auspices of Dr. Tilton, 
of Delaware. Salmon's " Herbal," the Dispensatory of Duncan, 
the Materia Medica of Lewis, long continued to be the chief 
text books. The influence of Salmon's " Herbal" was undoubt- 
edly stimulating to the study of botany. From it Dr. Cadwallader 
Golden, the pharmacist-physician governor of New York, received 
the stimulus which led to his botanical studies, afterward so com- 
mended by Linnaeus. 

That there was great enthusiasm manifested in the study of 
the indigenous vegetable materia medica is obvious from the 
writings of Dr. Benjamin Rush, who anticipates that therefrom 

History of Ancunt Pharmary. 

will result cures of many diseases. These botanical studies, in 
no small degree, brought about the disuse of the lancet. 

The merchants who sold erode drugs were much addicted to 
adulteration, and one of them, Carnes of New York, is stated by 
Dr. Francis to have sold colored sawdust for rhubarb. 

Cod-liver oil began to assume a very prominent part in the 
armamentarium of American pharmacy in this cuntury. 


Now 'tis evaporated and invisible, 

And upward (lies, whence its airy source. 

Then to the earth returns again. 

That first unto it gave birth. 

Even so we live and die. 

Now bound, and now as vapor fly.'* 

— Goethe. 


e^tet ^. 

&Dct*nl atsHICtHfl App«K«tnB. 

3 ISTILLATION— the process by which volatile sub- 
stances are separated from those of a mote fixed 

character — does not appear to have been much 
practiced by the early Greeks and Romans. The 
earliest reference made to it we trace to Synesius, 
who, about 410 B. C, was Bishop of Ptolemais.* The Arabian 
Galen, "Rhazes of Bagdad," likens the process of distillation to 
the condition in nasal catarrh. " The stomach," he says," is the 
kettle, the head is the cap, and the nose is the conducting and 
cooling tube, from which the product of distillation drips." 
From this we learn that the public roust have been quite familiar 
with the process, and, in fact, we find it frequently referred to in 
Arabian medical works. 

In the thirteenth century, Furno of Basel, Thaddaus of Flor- 
ence, and Arnoldus of Villanova, were largely instrumental in 
introducing the products of distillation into the occidental ma- 
teria medica, which efTort was particularly successful in the case 
of brandy and alcohol. These were very soon extensively used 
as a beverage, so that about the year A. D. 1500, laws were deemed 
necessary in several F.uropean states to counteract by legal re- 
strictions the growing tendency to over-indulgence. The law of 
Nuremburg decreed that brandy should neither be sold in shops 
nor in the open market-place on Sundays or other holidays. 

The increasing consumption of spirits, and the consequent 
multiplication of distilled medicinal waters, are abundant proof 
that the art of distilling had made considerable progress in the 

"Kopp. HislorygfChemislty. (79) 

6o History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

fifteenth century. Hieronymus Brunschwyck gives us a very lucid 
description of the apparatus in use in his day, in '^ The New 
Book on the Art of Distilling," and " The Art of Distilling Com- 
posite Things," both richly illustrated with wood-cuts. We have 
drawn largely on these books for our information. 

The first book was published on the 8th of May, 1500, and 
the other a few years later. At that time the word " distil," " to 
drip," had a wider application than at the present day. 

What in modern times is known as maceration, digestion, 
filtration, percolation and extraction, were all embraced under 
the head of distillation. Before the distillation proper of any 
substance was attempted, it was first subjected to a process of 
digestion in a glass retort for purposes of solution and softening. 
A great variety of methods were employed to obtain the requi- 
site degree of warmth. One primitive method is thus described : 
" In a convenient locality, preferably in a cellar, a pit five feet 
deep was excavated. This was partially filled with a layer of 
unslaked lime ; upon this followed a layer of horse manure, 
whereupon the vessel with the material was brought into place, 
and the whole covered up with another liberal supply of horse 
dung. The lime was then slaked by the pouring on of lukewarm 
water, thereby establishing a sort of fermentation, and an elevated 
temperature, which was maintained for several days, whereupon 
the substances in the pit were renewed, and the process repeated 
as often as found expedient." The simpler method of digesting 
matter by the aid of the sun or heat from a stove was also resorted 
to. To augment the sun's heat concave mirrors were employed. 
The digesting retort was placed between one of these and the 
sun, so as to receive the direct rays, and also the reflected heat 
from the mirror. 

Other peculiar methods, resorted to in the Middle Ages for 
securing an elevated temperature in the process of digestion, con- 
sisted in placing the vessels in ant-hills, in bread, ashes, in a 
water-bath, etc. For digesting in bread, the vessel was packed 
in dough, placed in an oven and baked like ordinary bread. 
The forms of the vessels employed were as varied as the methods 
for securing the required elevation of temperature. Particular 
stress was laid upon the importance of choosing such vessels as 
favored the return of the condensed vapors to the bottom of the 

Ancient Distilling Apparatus. 


vessel, so that the fluids could again penetrate the macerating 
substance, and thus repeatedly make the circuit. 

The following illustrations, taken from the works of Brunsch- 
wyck, show us a number of these vessels : 

Fig. 44. 



Fig. 44 a^ was known as'a vial. Fig. 44 by was called a cucur- 
bite from its resemblance to the shape of a gourd. 

Fig. 45. — Urinals. 

Figs. 45 tf, b and c, represent a variety of urinals. Fig. 46 
a and b^ are simple circulatories ; c, a circulatory with lateral 


History of Ancient Pliarmacy\ 

beak ; d^ a double circulatory, and e, a pelican circulatory, with 
two conducting tubes for the returning fluid. 

Fig. 46 <z, by r, </and e. — Circulatories. 

The funnels of the Middle Ages were, likewise, 
somewhat differently shaped than at present, as 
shown in the figure. Brunschwyck says they were 
used to separate oil and water and for conveying acids 
from one vessel into another. They were probably 
not used in the clarifying of liquids, since the process 
of filtering through paper had not been introduced. In 
his time liquids were clarified by running them through 
a linen or woolen bag, or they were "distilled per 


Ancient Distilling Apparatus, 


Fig. 47fl. 

Fig. Atlh, 

filtram." This process consisted in placing the liquid to be 
clarified in a bowl or pan, and connecting it with a vessel 
on a lower plane by means of a strip of felt or woolen cloth. 
By virtue of the capillary action of these bodies, the fluid was 

Ancient Distilling Apparatus, 85 

carried over and dripped into the lower vessel. In the case 
of very volatile substances two retorts were used, the beak of the 
lower one being cemented into that of the higher one, see Fig. 
47<j. The liquid was then carried over by the strip of felt which 
had previously been properly adjusted on the inside of the retorts. 

The most ancient form of distilling apparatus was probably 
the alembic, from the Greek, meaning " a cover ;" and the 
Arabian article " al," originally applied to the head of a still 
only. The alembic was placed on an earthen vessel or glass 
cucurbite, and cemented to the latter, and after a receiver 
had been adjusted to the beak of the alembic, this primitive 
distilling apparatus was complete in all its details. Fig. 47^. 

In Fig. 48 we see one of these apparatus in use, placed on an 
ordinary distilling gtove. Although the distillation is pictured 
as taking place in a garden, it is not probable that it was prac- 
ticed in the open air, exposed to wind and weather. It is well 
known that the artists of the Middle Ages not only sought to 
emphasize the minutest details of the objects pictured, but they 
also attempted to demonstrate their association with the objects 
in nature, by placing these in juxtaposition, no matter how much 
out of place the one or the other might be, and without appar- 
ently ever being aware of the impropriety of such an arrangement. 
The plant world was, as we have seen, the main source of medici- 
nal waters, and in the distillation of the latter women frequently 
took part. Hence the artist places the apparatus in a garden in 
which, beside the two apothecaries, are two women engaged in 
gathering plants ; all these details serving to indicate that the 
object of the distillation was the gaining of medicinal waters. 
The glass still-heads known as alembics were made in a variety 
of styles. 

^ The early alembic had the great fault that it allowed the 
vapors that condensed on its surface to flow back into the 
vessel too readily, thus greatly retarding the process. Fig. 49^1. 
This defect was remedied by making a groove on the inside 
wall, and near the neck of the alembic, Fig. 49^, with which the 
opejiing into the beak was continuous. Thus the condensed 
liquid collected in this groove and was conducted to the beak, 
toward which the groove was slightly inclined. 

The lack of a cooling apparatus was a very serious obstacle 


History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

to a successful and profitable distillation, on account of the 
escape of large quantities of uncondensed vapors. To obviate 
this in a measure, and to gain a larger cooling surface, the alem- 
bics were constructed in the shape of tall cones (see Fig. 49^), 
and were made of glazed earthenware, copper, zinc or lead, and 

Fig. 49. — Alembics. 

placed over shallow vessels of like material. This style was 
mostly used for the distilling of water. 

The Middle Age retorts were, on account of their impractica- 
ble shape, adapted only to such liquids that during ebullition 
did not escape through the beak. Their use for distilling pur- 
poses was therefore limited, and found application mostly for the 
** distillation per filtram," before described, and for purposes of 

Ancient Distilling Apparatus, 87 

digestion. To render the distilling vessels, which were in greater 
part made of glass, more resisting to the heat of an open fire, 
they were encased in a mass composed of clay, hemp-hatchel, 
horse-dung and wine. This mass was applied to the depth of 
one-half inch and allowed to dry. If, in spite of this precaution, 

the vessel should crack, a cloth, spread with 
a putty of red-lead, lime, flour and the white 
of tggy was placed over the fissure. The 
cloth used for this purpose was previously 
saturated with salt water and white of Qgg to 
render it fire-proof. For cementing the still- 
heads to the container and the receiving 
vessel to the former, a variety of pastes were 
in use. When a high degree of temperature 
M'ddi A R ^^^ required, the so-called Lutum sapientise 

* was used. This cement was composed of 

clay, horse-dung, ground brick, ground iron^ salt water and white 
of egg. When a lesser temperature sufficed, 
a paste composed of starch and soaked paper 
was applied. 

Common retorts served as receivers, but 
in case of very volatile substances, vessels 
with a lateral beak were substituted (see 
Fig. 50). In consequence of the constantly 
increasing consumption of spirits, the small 
glass apparatus could no longer supply the 
demand, and gradually the copper kettles, 
not very unlike our modem apparatus (Fig. Fig. 50. 

5 1), came into use. To condense the vapors, the still-head was 
made in the shape of a so-called " Moor's head," being sur- 
mounted by a copper mantel which was filled with cold water. 
For the purpose of rectification, the spirit was repeatedly and 
slowly distilled through a head without the customary furrow, 
the lower orifice of the head having been plugged with a sponge 
saturated in oil. The water, which was vaporized simultaneously 
with the alcohol, was condensed on the sponge, whilst the alcohol 
vapors passed through the pores of the sponge, and after being 
condensed in the cooling apparatus, escaped into the receiver. 
To obtain an alcohol of a still higher percentage, an apparatus 

History of Ancienl Pharmacy. 

is described in Figure 52, which may be considered as a fore- 
runner of those in use at the present day. Here we see the retort 
connected with a worm-like tube that repeatedly passes through 
a larger upright tube filled with cold water. The vapor, as it 

Fig. 51. 


rises in this tube, experiences an insufficient refrigeration, and 
the more volatile alcohol, finding its way to the remotest coil, 
finally condenses and reaches the receptacle ; whereas the water, 
which condenses earlier, finds its way back to the kettle or retort. 
That Basilius Valentinus had, in the fifteenth century, advised 
the use of tartrate of potassa for the dehydration of alcohol, is 

Ancient Diitiiling Apparalus. 

no doubt known to the reader, and needs but incidentally to be 
recalled here. An exact determination of its strength was im- 
possible before the discovery of the alcoholumijler at the close 



of the eighteenth century. Brunschwyck thought he had 
obtained spirits of the highest possible percentage, when a linen 
cloth saturated with it would also be destroyed after the alcohol 
had been ignited and entirely consumed. In case of very 


History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

hydrous alcohol the reraaining water, of course, piotectcd the 
linen from the flame. Another test consisted in dropping olive 
oil into the spirits ; if the oil sank to the bottom, the alcohol was 
proof. Since the specific gravity of olive oil is 0.915 an alcohol 
of sixty per cent, met this requirement. In place of the linen 
test, we later find mention of the powder test. Powder saturated 
with alcohol of proper strength shoiild burn with a pufF after the 


alcohol had been consumed. Albertus Magnus has called atten- 
tion to the fact that distillates from metal apparatus frequently 
carry with them metallic impurities, and, based on this authority, 
Brunschwyck also warns against the indiscriminate use of such 
apparatus. The Nuremburg apothecary ordinance of June 7, 
1555, entirely forbids their employment in drug-stores. This 
order was, however, soon found to overreach itself as applied to 
pharmacy, and in the ordinances of 1592 we find no more mention 
of it. In the Middle Ages distilling by druggists had been 

Ancient Distilling Apparatus. 


limited to mediGJnal waters, but when in the sixteenth century 
they entered upon the distilling of more volatile subtances, they 
felt the need of adopting the cooling apparatus already in use in 
distilleries. The books of the latter half of the sixteenth century 
that treat on this subject, show that just about this time thegreaf- 
,est improvements were being made in the line of cooling appli- 

Fig- 54- 
"The Distiller's Book," by G. Ryff, 1567, furnishes a number 
of illustrations bearing on this subject. In Fig. 53, the cap has 
two conducting pipes that pass obliquely through a barrel iilled 
with water. Ryff acknowledges that for distilling larger quantities 
this apparatus is entirely unsatisfactory, and in its place recom- 
mends the apparatus shown in Fig. 54. Fig. 55 represents an 
apparatus used in France at this time. In connection with the 
renewal of the water in the cooling apparatus, the fact that the 
warmer water rises to the surface and the cooler water collects 

History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

ia the lower part of the vessel, appears to have been entirely over- 
looked or was not understood. In comparing the apparatus here 

Fig. 55- 


pictured with those of modern construction, we therefore miss in 
the former the afferent tube for conveying the cold water to the 
base of the tub, and the effer- 
ent tube for conveying away 
the heated surface-water. To 
secure, by one and the same 
operation, both the pure or 
more volatile and the more 
sluggish product, an apparatus 
like the one shown in Fig. 56 
was used. The helm was sup- 
plied with two conducting tubes, 
each of which was continuous 
with a groove around the inner 
wall of the helm, on the plane 
of their division. 

Fig. 57 shows a section of 
a stove and apparatus used in 
process for dry distillation, per 
descensum. The stove was S'ig. 56. 

divided into two compartments by a diaphragmatic contrivance, 
into a central opening of which an earthen vessel was cemented 

Ancient Distilling Apparatus. 


from below. The mouth of this vessel, which opened into the 
upper half of the stove, was covered over by a piece of perforated 
tin. Over this a similar vessel, 
previously filled with the sub- 
stance to be distilled, was in- 
verted, and the mouths of the two 
pots carefully adjusted. A fire 
was then started around the upper 
pot, causing the products of dis- 
tillation, the heavy tar oils, to 
drip through the holes in the tin 
into the lower vessel, where they 
could be secured by means of a 
conducting tube at the bottom of 
F'g- 57- the pot. For want of a stove the 

lower pot was frequently sunk into the ground and a fire started 
around the upper one, when the same object was attained. The 
oleum juniperi empyreumaticum was prepared in this n 

C " "6* ■ "f Bi rmacof Sittifptacte anfe ^iowB. 



What friend is like the might of fire. 
When men can watch and wield the ire ? 
Whate*er we shape or work, we owe 
Still to that heaven-descended glow/' 

— Schiller (The Lay of the Bell). 


Korlg «r.l|»nlco-|lli< 

Tlrc-Hlaccs anO Bio 

HE i 

raportant office assigned to fire in the labora 
of alchemists — the precursors of the modern 
chemists — early led to the construction of special 
hearths and stoves, by which the heat required in 
the practice of the hermetic art could be con- 
veniently supplied and regulated. As early as the ninth century 
the Arabian " Geber," who lived in Seville, wrote a work which 
has come down to us in the Latin version, as " De Fornacibus 
Conslruendis," in which he describes stoves for calcinating, 
melting and distilling. 

As a result of the advancement of pharmacy in the occi- 
dental countries after the twelfth century, the principles under- 
went vast changes and improvements. The principal stoves in 
use in the Middle Ages for the preparation of medicines, and in 
particular those used in the process of distilling, are minutely 
described in the two books by Hieronymus Brunschwyck, 
referred to in the preceding chapter. In Figure 48, Chapter 
Six, a stove of the most simple construction is shown. This 
class of stoves was built of brick or glazed tile, that could be 
readily taken apart and readjusted. On one side, at the base, 
was an aperture for the introduction of fuel and the removal of 
ashes, and on either side were lesser openings for draught pur- 
poses. On the other side of the stove, opposite the main aper- 
ture, were two openings for the escape of the smoke. When 
distilling from a fire-proof kettle, this was placed directly over 
the open lire in an opening left in the top of the stove. But in 
case glass, earthen or lead vessels were employed, the distillation 


History of Ancirnt Pharmacy. 

was proceeded with either "per cincrem" or "per arenam." 
To this end ashes or sand were spread two or three inches deep 
on an iron or stone plate, with which the opening in the top of 

Fig. 6a 


the stove had been closed, and upon this the distilling vessel 
was placed. To distil with the aid of a water bath, "per balnenm 
inariae," this simple stove was turned into a so-called coppd 

Early Chemieo-Pharmaeal Fire-Places and Stoves. 99 

stove, by cementing a copper kettle into the opening in place of 
the plate which bad before served as a cover. This was called 
a "coppel," and was fitted with water, into which the distilling 
vessel was placed. To Iteep the latter in position it was weighted 
above and betow with leaden rings. To protect the hot stones 
from injury by water, which might escape during ebullition, the 
copper kettle was 
ordinarily supplied 
with a lateral pipe 
to conduct the over- 
flow to a safe dis- 
tance. Fig. 59. 

For the purpose 
of carrying on sev- 
eral distilla- 
tions on the 
same fire, the 
so-called dis- 
tilling hearths 
(Fig. 60) were 
devised, con- 
structed of 
baked or sun- 
dried brick. 
were divided 
into an upper 
and a lower 
bymeansofa ng.m. 

grate. In the copp.l h.arth. 

lower part was an opening for the removal of the ashes, and 
for allowing air to reach the fuel above the grate. The fuel 
was introduced through an opening in the centre of the iron 
plate covering the stove. The smoke escaped through holes left 
at the comers. To regulate the fire, some of these holes were 
closed by means of earthen plugs. The iron plate was partially 
covered by tiles, leaving open spaces at intervals that were filled 
up witii sand, upon which the distilling vessels were placed. 

History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

In Fig. 60 we see four distilling pans placed in these sand- 
baths, and surmounted by the tall condensing caps spoken of in a 
former chapter. To utilize one fire to the utmost, these hearths 
were made of large dimensions, frequently with ten to thirty 
coppels. These coppels were not made of copper, as in the case 
of the water-bath described above, but of clay, on account of its 
greater cheapness and resistance to fire. Fig. 61 shows us one 
of these coppel hearths with thirteen stills covered by alembics. 
When the process of distillation was begun a receiver was, of 
course, attached to the beak of each alembic, as shown in con- 

nection with two of them in the illustration. These coppel 
hearths somewhat resemble the galley stoves of our chemical 
factories ; the latter being so named from the fact, that when 
fully equipped with retorts, their appearance calls to mind th'e 
row of oars protruding from a galley. In Fig. 62, which is taken 
from " The New Medicine Book," by Jacob Theodor Tabernae- 
montanus, published at Neustadt in 1592, is seen a distilling 
apparatus, set up in a garden. In this case the hearth is arranged 
terrace-like. From a description of the process we learn, that 
" Numerous copper or earthen vessels are placed upon the 

Early Chemico-Pharmacal Ftre-PlacfS and Stoves. 

hearth ; they are then filled with the fresh comminuted herbs, 
which have been saturated with water or wine. Over each vessel 
is turned a beaked cap, and the small vessels receive the water 
as it drops from the beaks." 

Fig. 63. 

In the "Herb-Book" of Matthiotus, published in 1586, a 
somewhat similar stove is pictured and described, Fig. 63, in 
which the vessels placed on the stove, as in the preceding 
picture, are superseded by the tiles themselves, made in imita- 
tion of jars, as is plainly seen in the two upper rows depicted 
in Fig. 63. Matthiolus, in describing this stove, says it "is 


History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

extensively used at Venice. The distillation proceeds quickly 
and satisfactorily, for in twenty-four hours it will distil over loo 
pounds of water. The stove is built round, and is made by a 
potter, just as he would any other tile stove or hearth that we 

Fig. 64. 


use in our homes. The hollow tiles encircle the stove in a num-, 
ber of layers, and are glazed and shaped almost like urinal 
glasses. These tiles are capped by glass distilling helms, which 
are simply turned over them. The receivers are attached to the 
beaks, and held in place by strings that are tied to the knob on 
the helm. Now, when one wishes to distil, a fire is started in the 

Early Chcmico-Pharmacal Fire-Places and Stavci 

stove, but the plants or flowers are not yet put into the tile vessels, 
for the excessive heat would destroy their properties. It is, 
therefore, better to wait until the maximum heat has subsided. 
Then, when the stove is reasonably hot, it is closed tightly, so 
that it may retain an equable temperature as long as possible. 
Now you may introduce the plants and flowers into the cavities, 
turn the glass helms over them, and allow the distillation to pro- 
ceed. The resulting distillate will be much finer than that 
obtained by n 

Fig, 65. 


For tedious and protracted fire operations the so-called lazy 
"Heintz"* or "Althanor" (from a^avaio'i, everlasting, immor- 
tal) was the most desirable and serviceable heating apparatus. 
The distinguishing feature of this stove was a tall pipe, Fig. 64, 
closed at the top by a cover, containing the fuel, which, as in 
the modern American stoves, gradually found its way down to 
the grate to take the place of the fuel consumed. These hearths 
were usually supplied with three or four coppels, and each of 
these with its own fire-place, which was connected with the pipe 

History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

furnishing the fuel. Each fire-place had an opening, controlled 
by a register, for the escape of the smoke. By the manipulation 
of these registers and the closing of the ash-ports the fire was 
regulated. For the distillation of many pharmaceutical prepara- 
tions the highest degree of temperature, consistent with complete 
control over the operation, was required. To effect this it was 
found necessary to be able to regulate the supply of air. These 
features were embodied in greatest perfection in the "Wind- 
slove," Fig. 65. A powerful draught was established by means 


Kic, 66. 

of a Stove-pipe, as at the present day. The pipe served for the 
introduction of fuel and for the escape of the smoke. The fire- 
place could be shut off" from the flue by these registers, and in 
addition the draft could be entirely suppressed by means of a 
cover on the pipe, so that the fire was at all time under absolute 
control. To utilize the great amount of heat constantly going 
to waste, Brunschwyck describes a device. Fig. 66, which, on 
account of its complicated nature, was probably not often 
resorted to, and should rather be classed with the other numer- 
ous technical playthings of the Middle Ages. It consisted in 
extending the stove-pipe to an upper floor in the house, and 
then guiding it through a wooden tub filled with water. The 

Early Chemico-Pharmacal Fire-Plates and Stoves. 105 

pipe imparted enough heat to the water to make this available 
for digestion and the distillation of very volatile substances. 
For creating an intense heat to melt metals, without resorting to 
a blast, Brunschwyck describes a stove constructed on the same 
plan as the modern wind-stove. But while the modern wind- 
stove usually consists of a shect-iron mantel, lined with fire- 
proof cement, the Middle Age stove, as seen in Fig. 67, is con- 

Fig. 67. 


structed of wedge-shaped tiles, like those now frequently used in 
the construction of wells and chimneys. As in the modern stove, 
the interior was divided by a grate, underneath which, in the 
walls of the stove, numerous air holes were left. The fuel con- 
sisted of wood or charcoal, and the metal to be melted was 
packed into a crucible and placed in the fire. 

Since in many instances the proximity of the fire proved to 
be a disturbing element in the calcinating and melting processes, 
a stove was desired in which the substance could be subjected to a 


Ithlory of Ancient I'barmacy. 

high degree of heat without bringing it in contact with the flame. 
One of these stoves, known as a " reverb era tory" furnace, is 
shown in Figure 68. At the junction of the lower with the mid- 
dle third is a grate for the support of the fire. The substance to 
be operated upon were placed in a separate chamber, against 
which the flames were directed, and upon which, by a special 
flue arrangement, they were deflected or reverberated on passing 
from the fire'chamber to the chimney. Brunschwyck recom- 

Fig. 68. 

mends this stove for making gold powder, which, according to 
his method, was effected by melting together gold and mercury, 
triturating the amalgam and then driving out the mercury by 
heating the compound in the reverberatory furnace. These stoves 
naturally found more application in metallurgical processes than 
in pharmacal manipulations. 

Besides enumerating tan-bark, wood and charcoal, Ryff, in 
1567, also mentions mineral coal for fuel, which he declares to 
be of inestimable value to alchemists. He draws a comparison 
between the living heat produced by these substances, and the 
artificial heat by which the activity of nature is imitated, which 
latter in the interior of the earth heats the waters that rise to the 

Early Cheviico-Pharmacal Fire-Places and Stoves, 107 


surface, and furnish us with the wonderful natural springs for the 
cure of disease. "To imitate this heat," he says, " take one part 
of fresh, hot unslaked lime, one-half part sulphur, one-quarter 
part saltpetre and one-eighth part nice clean alum. Powder each 
ingredient separately and promptly mix them. Put them into a 
brass globe, which is then closed, so as to insure the contents 
against the action of air and water. It is then placed in a tub 
of water. The steam from the warm lime will attach itself to 
the inner wall of the globe, and will be resolved into drops by 
the action of the cold water on the outside of the globe, which 
drops, in their turn, will be attracted by the alum. This mois- 
ture, with the inherent moisture of the alum, will cause the latter 
to melt, whereupon the lime will become very hot and burn. To 
maintain its ardor the saltpetre has been added to furnish it with 
air, and the sulphur to supply it with nourishment, without which 
two conditions no fire can be maintained. If you prepare this 
self-heating globe with scrupulous care, you may derive great 
benefit from it, for if you make it large enough you can heat a 
large tub of water with it, and thus secure a kind of natural heat- 
ing bath, similar to the hot springs." 

** O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies. 
In hcrl>s, plants, stones, and their true qualities ! 
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live, 
but to the earth some special good doth give." 



Ciloffet £t99f. 

■dint pfianniicapaita*. 

Considering that the cuneiform inscriptions con- 
1 formularies corresponding, in some respects, 
to the modern idea of a Pharmacopceia, the earli- 
est collection of formulas, showing evidence of 
supervision over drugs, was the "Prayogamrita " 
of Vardy-achin-tamani, a Sanscrit work. The " Compositiones 
Medica " of Scribonius Longus, written 42 A. D., is evidence of 
a Roman attempt to fix some standard. 

About 900 A. D. appeared the " Ibdal," an Arabian book of 
formulas, which gave directions as to the preparation of drugs. 
Under the influence of this Arabic training, the school founded 
at Salerno in the seventh century, with an academy founded at 
Naples in the eleventh century, long maintained an enviable 
reputation. Through the influence of these schools, drug-stores, 
called " Stationares," were established throughout Italy. In the 
first medical ordinance for Naples and Sicily, under Frederic II 
the apothecaries were directed to be governed by the " Antido- 
tarium " of Nicolaus, the superintendent of the medical school 
at Salerno. This Dispensatpry contains about one hundred and 
"fifty galenical preparations, alphabetically arranged, and gives a 
description of their medicinal properties, with directions for 
administration. This work, with the medical works of Avicenna, 
Serapion, Scribonius and others, formed a nucleus for more elab- 
orate productions in the interest of the Apothecaries Guild. 

A " formulary " of the eleventh century, now in the archives 
of Piedmont, is devoted, first, to receipts for making good ink 
and illuminative parchment. The vegetable. remeL 

it2 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

ated include aloes, camphor, cassia, lettuce, opium, rue, linseed, 
mustard, etc. The formulary is largely based on the work of 
Lucius Apuleius Platonicus on the virtue of herbs. 

The Antidotarium of Myrepsius was the authority in the 
thirteenth century. The " Antidotarium Magnum seu Dispensa- 
torium ad Aromatorios," extensively used in Italy, was published 
at Florence in 1498. These Italian works were long recognized 
as the chief authorities elsewhere. The study of the science in 
Italy gave an impetus to science all over Europe. 

The sixteenth century was marked by the appearance of a 
number of pharmacopoeias in the modern sense of the term. 
The Latin countries first began to exhibit evidences of an inde- 
pendence of the Italian yoke, for in 1543, Lyons established and 
published the *' Pharmacopoeia Lugdensis."* In southern Ger- 
many the sixteenth century was the golden era. The arts and 
sciences were being cultivated by men like DUrer, Vischer and 
Krafft. The reformatory spirit of the age was shown in the field 
of medicine, by the enactment of rational medical laws. Apoth- 
ecaries' .ordinances, dating from the earliest days of the century, 
were supplemented by one enacted in 1529 by the Nuremburg 
Senate, which, among other things, fixed methods for the prepa- 
ration of medicines. One extract reads : 

All the Laxativa, such as Electuaria and Pillulae, must be prepared and 
dispensed by the druggists in accordance with the directions in the book known 
as. the Luminare majus. To avoid any error or oversight in the preparation of 
these Laxativa, and to insure even preparations by all druggists, these Laxativa 
have been carefully copied from the Luminare majus by the doctors of medicine. 
Each druggist will be furnished with a copy, by which he must be guided, to the 
exclusion of all other formulas. 

The "Luminare majus" was a collection of formula from the 
later Greek, Roman and Arabian nTedical works. Its author, 
the Alexandrian Joh. Jac. Manlius de Bosco, added a lengthy 
explanation to each formula, thus making it rather a text-book 
than a pharmacopoeia. Strictly speaking, only one of the works 
hitherto mentioned deserves the title of pharmacopoeia, as they 
were more like the ancient Egyptian formularies deciphered by 
Ebers, and the Assyrian translated by Sayce. All, however, are 
of value in tracing the evolution of the pharmacopoeia. 

* Rice, Reference Handbook of the Medical Sciences. 

Ancient Pharmacopoeias, 113 

The first work corresponding to the modern idea of a phar- 
macopoeia, which received legal sanction in Europe, was the 
result of the labors of Valerius Cordus. This " Pharmacorum 
Conficiendorum Ratio, Vulgo Vocant Dispensatorium," was pub- 
lished without a date by John Petreyers at Nuremburg. Its 
author was born February 18, 15 15, at Simtshausen, in Hesse. 
His father, Enricius Cordus, was professor of medicine at Mar- 
burg. Valerius and his brother entered the University very 
early, and received its baccalaureate degree in 1531. Valerius 
went to Wittenburg where he became a teacher. In 1543 he pro- 
ceeded to Italy to study, and died at Rome, December 25, 1544. 
There are many contradictory reports in historical literature 
concerning his Dispensatory. The preface to the first edition 
states that "Valerius Cordus, the son of Enrich Cordus, while on 
his journey to Italy to assuage his thirst for knowledge, stopped 
at Nuremburg and was well received by its circle of learned 
men." He associated particularly with the physicians who, 
upon learning that he had carefully compiled a work containing 
all old and new medical preparations, with many improve- 
ments of his own, and that this book had been introduced in 
manuscript form in a number of cities in Saxony, requested him 
to furnish a copy for the Nuremburg druggists. Valerius, doubt- 
ing that they would adopt his formulas without legal sanction, 
turned over his manuscript to the Senate for examination and 
approval. The Senate accepted it with thanks, and appointed 
a committee of physicians to investigate the formulas, so that in 
case changes were found necessary they could be made with the 
approval of the author. This committee declared it to be the 
best and most complete work of the kind extant. The Senate 
ordered it printed, and directed all druggists to prepare their 
medicines according to the directions therein laid down. The 
author died in Italy before the book was printed. It was pub- 
lished after his death by the High Senate of Nuremburg as "a 
lasting memorial to. the learned and brilliant youth, Valerius 


The Dispensatory, which appeared in September, 1546, seems 
to have created quite a sensation, for even outside of Nuremberg 
it passed through numerous editions and reprints. The follow- 
ing are known: One Parisian in 1548; three Lyonaise, 1552, 

114 History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

1559 and 1599; two Venetian, 1556 and 1563, and one Antwer- 
pian, 1580. The book, like all scientific works of the period, 
was printed in Latin. The names /of the compounds were 
derived, in part, from the ingredients, in part from their proper- 
ties, or, finally, from the name of the author. According to the 
first-mentioned method of nomenclature, a plaster which con- 
tained the juice of fenugreek, linseed and marshmallow, was 
called Emplastrum diachylon, "plaster with juice." A plaster 
containing vinegar and saffron was called Emplastrum oxycro- 
ceum, "sour saffron plaster." In the course of time these 
plasters underwent changes and improvements, and the substance 
to which the remedy owed its name was frequently omitted. 
The modern Emplastr. diachylon contains no juices, and the 
Emplastr. oxycroceum of to-day does not contain vinegar, and 
but infrequently saffron. 

The names of many preparations by this modification in 
their preparation became problems for the philologist. The 
etymological obscurity of opodeldoc, which has become pro- 
verbial, is an instance. Its origin may be easily traced to the 
old opodeldoc plaster of the last Nuremburg edition of the 
" Dispensatorii Valerii Cordi." This does not contain any 
ingredients found in modern opodeldoc, but its then chief com- 
ponent parts were Opoponax, Bedellium and Aristolochi root. 
The first sylable of the first word, Opo- ; the second syllable of 
the second word, -del-, and the last syllable of the third word, 
-loch, gives Opodelloch, as Paracelsus wrote it, which became 
Opodeltoch, and finally, Opodeldoc. Simples are mentioned by 
Cordus only when special manipulation is required to render 
them serviceable as remedies. 

The most important part of his book is a collection of receipts 
by. Greek, Roman and Arabian physicians, by Dioscorides, of 
Sicily; Galenus, of Pergamus ; Andromachus, the body physician 
of Nero ; Rhazes, of Bagdad, " the Arabian Galen ; Avicenna 
("Scheich el Reis," or "prince of physicians)"; MesuS, the 
younger, and Nicolaus Praepositus, of Salerno. The formulary 
contained chiefly substances derived from the vegetable and 
animal kingdoms. The compounds were of a class known as 
Galenical preparations from the noted Roman physician, Clau- 
dius Galenus, who placed great faith in complex compounds. 

Ancient Pharmacopmas. 115 

The heterogeneous character of the innumerable ingredients of 
many of those compounds impress the modern mind with the 
idea that human life must have been greatly endangered by such 
remedies. It is easy to believe that Shakespere, a master in 
combining poetical fancy with devotion to fact, must have been 
acquainted with Cordus' work, for many of the latter's com- 
pounds recall the witch's broth in " Macbeth " : 

* ' Round about the cauldron go ; 
In the poisoned entrails throw. 
Toad, that under cold stone 
Days and nights has thirty-one 
Swelter' d venom, sleeping got. 
Boil them first i' the charmed pot. 
Fillet of a fenny snake. 
In the cauldron boil and bake ; 
Eye of newt and toe of frog. 
Wool of bat and tongue of dog, 
Adder's fork and blind worm's sting, 
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing. 
For a charm of powerful trouble. 
Like a hell -broth boil and bubble. 
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf. 
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf 
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark, 
Root of hemlock, digg'd i' the dark. 
Liver of blaspheming Jew, 
Gall of goat, and slips of yew 
Sliver'd i' the moon's eclipse. 
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips, 
Finger of birth-strangled babe 
Ditch-delivered by a drab, 
Make the gruel thick and slab : 
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron. 
For the ingredients of our cauldron." 

The preparations in Cordus' Dispensatory are divided into 
Aromatics, Opiates, Confections, Conserves, Purges, Pills, Syr- 
ups, Electuaries, Plasters, Cerates, Troches, Salves and Oils. 
There are additional directions for some few simples. Antidotes 
and disinfectants, classed with the opiates, appear to have been 
the main remedies in the time of Cordus. The principal repre- 
sentatives of these were the two electuaries, " Theriac " and 
" Mithridat." Both were originally intended as antidotes, but at 

ii6 History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

a later day fallen into repute as remedies for contagious 

Mithridat was a compound originally invented by Mith- 
ridates Eupator, King of Pontus, who lived in constant fear 
of poison, and studied toxicology by testing poisons on crimi- 
nals, and taking poisons and their antidotes himself every 
day in the year. His system became so accustomed to the 
poisons, that when, on the day of his defeat by Pompey, he 
attempted to poison himself to avoid capture, the poison failed, 
and he ordered one of his soldiers to kill him. Among the 
papers of the defeated king, Pompey found the receipt for this 
electuary, which had a great reputation. This receipt, and other 
medical manuscripts found with the body, were translated by 
Pompey's freedman, the grammarian, Lenaeus, into Latin. Thus, 
as Pliny * says, " Pompey benefited society no less than the state 
by his victory." 

Originally the receipt for Mithridat was hot very complicated, 
but was improved upon by Damocrates, the body physician of 
Nero. This improved formula, containing fifty-five ingredients, 
is introduced by Cordus in his Dispensatory. Andromachus, 
another body physician of Nero, still further improved upon the 
formula and increased its ingredients. 

One of his principal additions was the flesh of snakes, whence 
the name Teriac or Theriac, from the snake "Tyrus." He con- 
secrated this electuary to his royal protege in a poem, enumerating 
all its ingredients, which Galen has preserved. This "Theriac " 
of Andromachus was introduced in all dispensatories, and was 
to be found in the Pharmacopoeia Germanica of 1882 ; although 
the sixty-four ingredients given in the Dispensatory of Cordus, 
had dwindled to twelve. Theriac apparently occupied an im- 
portant position in medicine down to the present century. 
Brunschwyck, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, writes : 
" When Theriac is to be made, each of its component parts 
should be exposed for at least two months in a public place, as 
at Venice, so that the wise men and doctors may inspect them, 
and determine whether or not they are fit for use." 

Figure 70, from Brunschwyck's " Book for the Distillation 
of Composite Things," depicts a public display of vessels con- 

* C. Plinius. Natural History, Vol. 25, Ch. 3. 

taming the ingredients of Theriac. The two human figures 
represent a doctor and a druggist. The two hanners at the 
corners of the table are decorated wiih Venetian lions, since 
Venetian Theriac had the greatest reputation. As the display 
lasted several months, it certainly did not taVe place in the open 
air, and the object of the illustration in placing the table on the 
street, was to convey the idea that it was a public affair. In 

Germany, Theriac was prepared under oflScial supervision ; the 
Nuremburg apothecaries' ordinance provides that "no Theriac 
shall in future be branded with the seal of the city unless it have 
been previously examined and declared worthy of the same by 
the doctors of medicine : every druggist must know the age of 
the Theriac he sells. Inasmuch as its action changes very 
materially with age, the buyer should in all instances be informed 
of this, so that he may not be deceived." From the publicity 

ii8 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

given the matter, the preparation of Theriac soon grew to be a 
state festival. The last public preparation of Theriac took place 
at Nuremberg in 1754. Since then it has gradually lost ground, 
and this Nestor of medicines now pines out its existence in out- 
of-the-way corners of a few antiquated pharmacies, where some 
spider has kindly spun a veil of mourning around it. " Sic tran- 
sit gloria mundi." Even simples were obtained, according to 
the methods of Cordus, by very complicated procedures. To 
prepare goat's-blood, formerly officinal, the druggist was obliged 
to feed a middle-aged buck, for one month, on celery, parsley 
and other Umbelliferae, slaughter him in early summer when the 
sun was in the Tropic of Cancer, and dry the blood in an oven. 

As the Dispensatory of Cordus was based entirely on the 
Galenico-Arabian school, the quinta essentia, tinctures, extracts 
and chemicals were wanting. Distillation is briefly referred to 
in connection with a a few ethereal oils. The distilled waters 
are omitted, not because they were not used, but because they 
were already so well known that, with the simples, they could be 
disregarded. As the pharmacist had, in a great measure, to 
depend on foreign drugs, not always obtainable, because of 
defective methods of communication, he was tempted to practice 
substitution. The custom of substitution advocated by Galen 
became so general in the Middle Ages that it was found expedient 
to designate the proper succedanea. In an appendix to the 
Cordus Dispensatory, under the heading, " De Succedaneis 
Quid pro Quo," the Parisian physician enumerates the following 
substitutes : " For the winter cherry, take common nightshade ; 
for colocynth, take castor beans ; for oil of laurel, take tar ; for 
storax, take castor ; for ginger, take pellitory root." The substi- 
tutes do not always possess the same properties as the drugs that 
they supplant. This custom probably had bad results. 

In the 1592 edition of the Cordic Dispensatory edited by the 
Collegii Medici, American drugs are introduced, among them 
sarsaparilla and sassafras. Oddly enough guaiac, which was 
administered to Ulric von Hutten, who died of syphilis, is not 
mentioned in this edition. Another American drug was tobacco, 
used in skin diseases. Among the chemicals are found the 
natural salts, alum, borax, saltpetre, etc. ; and a number of Sales 
arteficiosi, These latter, sal absinthii, sal ^ilkekengi, sal t?irtari, 

Ancient Pharmacopoeias, 119 

etc., are derived from the ash of plants and other substances, 
and consisted, in nearly every instance, of potash carbonate, 
while their name merely indicated the source whence they were 
derived. The artificial metallic salts, advocated by Paracelsus, 
are wanting in this edition. By the medical laws of 1592, attached 
to this Dispensatory, doctors and barbers are forbidden the use 
of the Paracelsian salts, such as Turpethum minerale, Mercurius 
praecipitatus, and Aurum vitse. 

A chapter on extracts and distilled waters was also incorpo- 
rated. Plants and animals are pressed into service for this pur- 
pose. Aqua caponis and Aqua pullorum, "distillates of capon 
and pullet," are recommended as strengthening draughts and 
for inflammatory chest diseases. The 1598 edition of the 
Dispensatory, edited by the Collegii Medici, mentions among 
American drugs guaiac wood and white jalap (Radix mechoa- 
cannae) now obsolete. To secure remedies from the animal 
kingdom the druggist was compelled to war with numerous 
animals ; he was called upon to furnish " Epar lupi," or Wolf- 
liver ', " Pulmo vulpis," fox lung. This still survives in the 
name of a syrup which contains no fox lung ; " Cervi os de 
corde," deer spine ; " Gallinarum stomachorum interiores pel- 
liculae," inner membrane of a chicken stomach, which still 
survives in "ingluvin;" " Lana succida," sheep's wool ; "Lucii 
mandibula," the toothed jaw of a pike ; " Pili leporis " and 
" Talus leporis," rabbit hair and foot, still used by negroes ; 
"Graecum album," white excrement of a dog; "Lapis fellus 
bovini," gallstones of an ox, still used in the shape of ox-gall ; 
swallows, sparrows, scorpions and centipedes were burned to 
ashes before being admitted into the kingdom of ^sculapius 
under the names of " Hirundines ustae," " Passeres troglody- 
tides," " Scorpiones," etc. Fat from every animal had to be 
procured. The sixteenth century pharmacist must have re- 
garded with envious eye his plump fellow being, for he was also 
asked to keep in stock " poor sinner's fat," " Adeps hominis." 
" Cranium humanum," and " Oleum ossium humanorum " were 
also highly prized medicines. In this edition of the Dispensa- 
tary some of the more powerful metallic salts are introduced, 
such as white arsenic, the red and yellow arsenic sulphides, red 
precipitate, and corrosive sublimate. Of the mineral acids, sul- 

I20 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

phuric acid alone is mentioned. On the whole, the sixteenth 
century materia medica, as represented by the pharmacal body 
cdrporate, was comparatively refined. Cordiis' Dispensatory 
contains comparatively few of the disgusting remedies in use in 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the mere suggestion 
of which shocks modern taste. 

Many of the larger German cities introduced pharmacopoeias 
of their own in the sixteenth century. Thus, in 1564, the " Phar- 
macopoeia seu Medicamentarium pro Republica Augustana," 
was published at Augsburg, edited by the physician, Adolf Occo. 
In 1565 the Pharmacopteia of the City of Cologne was issued. 
A pharmacopoeia was also published at Basel, by Dr. Foes, in 
the year 1561. 

The sixteenth century was quite prolific in pharmacopoeias. 
One was published at Mantua, Italy, in 1559, and one at Ber- 
gamo, in 1580. In Spain, the University town of Salamanca 
caught the spirit of the age by publishing a Pharmacopoeia in 
1588. These all bore some resemblance to the work of Cordus, 
which was but natural, since all bore traces of the Italian 

In the seventeenth century (1601), Spain, at the Great Univer- 
sity of Salamanca, published the first new Pharmacopoeia. In 
this century the influence of the separation of the apotheca- 
ries from the grocers in England, was shown in the necessity 
felt for some official standard, whence came the first English 
Pharmacopoeia, the Pharmacopoeia Londinensis, published in 
1618. Subsequent editions of this work were published in 1650, 
1677, 1721 and 1746 The early English pharmacopoeias were 
largely compilations from the works of Mesue, Nicolaus, and 
authors of this class, even as late as 172 1. 

The College of Physicians, in the preface to their 1746 edition 
of the Pharmacopoeia, declare that " it is certainly a disgrace 
and just reproach if pharmacy should any longer abound with 
these inartificial and irregular mixtures, which the ignorance of 
the first ages introduced, and the perpetual fear and jealousies 
enforced ; against which the ancients endlessly busied themselves 
in the search of antidotes, which, for the most part, they super- 
stitiously and dctingly derived from oracles, dreams and astro- 
logical fancies ; and, vainly hoping to frame compositions that 

Ancient Pharmacoposias, 121 

might surely prevail against every species of poison, they 
amassed together whatever they had imagined to be endowed 
with alexipharmic powers. By this procedure the simplicity of 
physic was lost, and a wantonness in mixing, enlarging and 
accumulating took place, which has continued even to our own 
time." The Lyons Pharmacopoeia long remained without a 
French competitor, for the first Pharmacopoeia issued at Paris 
appeared in 1637. This was republished in 1639 ^^ a Codex. 
Burdigal published its own Pharmacopoeia in 1643 ; Toulons 
followed its example in 1648, and Valenciennes in 1651. 

In the Netherlands, each of the prominent cities issued its 
own Pharmacopoeia ; Amsterdam in 1636 ; Leyden in 1638 ; 
Brussels in 1639 y Lille in 1640 ; "Gand and The Hague in 1652 ; 
Utrecht and Louvaine in 1656 ; and Antwerp in 1661. 

A pharmacopoeia also appeared at Stralsund in 1645. The 
first Danish pharmacopoeia, the " Pharmacopoeia Hofmensis," 
was published in 1658. 

In 1666, the fifth and last edition of the Cordic Dispensatory 
left the press. On the title-page of this edition is the copper- 
print reproduced on the first page of this chapter. Fig. 69. 
The lower part furnishes a birds-eye view of Nuremburg, while 
above and suspended in the clouds is seen a disciple of -^scul- 
apius, mounted on a dragon, and directing four fiery steeds. 
Materia medica had undergone a great change since the preced- 
ing edition (161 2) was issued. The list of remedies of animal 
origin was greatly augmented, and excrementitious substances 
were given special prominence. Medical cannibalism also 
increased in an alarming degree.- Belts of human skin and 
woman butter enter upon the scene ; boy's urine, distilled with 
Hungarian vitriol, produced the Spiritus antipilepticus, an empy- 
reumatic distillate employed in epilepsy. After the same formula 
Spiritus calvarise humanae and Spiritus ossium humanorum were 
prepared. Besides these disgusting remedies, whose adoption 
does not redound to the glory of medicine in the seventeenth 
century, many useful remedies were also introduced, which have 
retained their reputation to the present day. Cinchona is men- 
tioned for the first time. Among American drugs still in use. 
Jalap, Peru and Tolu balsam are added. The tinctures and 
essences recommended by Paracelsus, and the number of 

122 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

" Salia " and " Chymica," have also been multiplied. Ammonia 
carbonate, mixed with a variety of empyreumatic substances, 
comes in for its share of attention under the names of" Sal vola- 
tile cranii humani," " cornu cervi," " succini," *' viperarum '* and 
"urinae." "Sal jovis" is prepared by dissolving zinc-ash, and 
" Sal saturni " by dissolving red lead in vinegar." " Mercurius 
praecipitatus albus " is prepared by dissolving mercury in nitric 
acid, and the adding to this a solution of sodium chloride. The 
resulting precipitate is a mild mercury chloride, identical with 
our white precipitate. Antimony, although not mentioned in 
this Dispensatory, had found a wide application in medicine. 
Antimony goblets were in use in the seventeenth century in 
convents. Monks addicted to wine were compelled to use these 
goblets. When the wine remained in contact with the metal for 
a brief period, it dissolved the antimony, forming a wine of 
antimony, which nauseated, and was said to have created an 
aversion to the favorite drink. The everlasting pills, " Pillulse 
perpetuae," of our forefathers, were also made of the metallic 
antimony. These were handed down from generation to genera- 
tion as a precious heirloom, for, as a contemporaneous writer 
says : " Though they may have passed through the system an 
hundred times, they will always purge, and one will scarcely 
notice any diminution in their size." 

In the 1666 edition of the Cordic Dispensatory so many 
chemicals, extracts and tinctures are mentioned, together with 
the old galenical formulas, that it may properly be called a 
representative work of the medical era foreshadowed by Para- 
celsus. With the exception of the alkaloids (not discovered until 
the nineteenth century) it contains all classes of remedies found 
in modern pharmacopoeias. The first Swedish pharmacopoeia, 
" The Pharmacopoeia Holmensis," appeared in 1686. 

The first Prussian pharmacal standard was the " Dispensa- 
torum Brandenburgii," issued in 1698. Toward the close of the 
seventeenth century Spain published Pharmacopoeias at Barce- 
lona in 1686, and at Saragossa in 1698. The first Swiss Pharma- 
copoeia, "The Pharmacopoeia Helvetiorum," appeared 4n 1677, 
Haarlem, in Holland, issued a Pharmacopoeia in 1693. The 
eighteenth century saw several new Pharmacopoeias issued.*:* The 
first Austrian Pharmacopoeia was issued in 1739, ^^^ was revised 

Ancient Pharmacopoeias. lij 

by SWrck in 1774. The first Bohemian Pharmacopoeia appeared 
at Prague in 1739. Even Persia issued one in 1771, the 
" Makzan el Adwyn." 

Dort, in Holland, issued one in 1708, and Almeria, in Spain, 
one in 1724. 

In consequence of the efforts of Dr. Tilton, of Delaware, to 
reform the commissary department of Washington's Army, the 
first American Pharmacopoeia was published at Philadelphia in 

Not until the troubles of 1789 had quieted down did the first 
Irish Pharmacopoeia appear in 1794. 

As an illustration of the character of English Dispensatories 
in the eighteenth century the following formula is cited from 
the " Pharmacopoeia Officinalis Extemporanea *' or " Complete 
English Dispensatory,'* London, 1741. 

Vinum Millepedum {Hog-Lice Wine). — Take hog-lice, half a pound, put 
them alive into two pounds of white port wine, and after some days' infusion 
strain and press out very hard ; then put in saffron two drachms, salt of steel 
one drachm, and salt of amber two scruples, and after three or four days strain 
and filter for use. This is an admirable medicine against the jaundice, dropsy 
or any cachectic habit. It greatly deterges all the viscera, and throws off a 
great deal of superfluous humors by urine. It may be given twice a day, two 
ounces at a time. 

(^bicaf ^upiteHiion. 

Fig. 71- 

** Now the magic fire prepare, 
And from graves uprooted tear 
Trees, whose horrors gloomy spread 
Round the mansions of the dead ; 
Bring the eggs and plumage foul 
Of a midnight shrieking owl. 
He they well besmeared with blood 
Of the blackest venom' d toad ; 
From their various climates bring 
Every herb that taints the spring ; 
Then into the charm be thrown, 
Snatch'd from famished bitch, a bone ; 
Burn them all with magic flame 
Kindled first by Colchian dame.*' 

—Horace (Ode V, Book V). 


Ctiapftt Q^ine. 

MtAlcol •u|i»rslHfOB. 

UPERSTITION, the sponsor for miracle, and half- 
brother of faith, in the early centuries so dominated 
all fields of human endeavor, that it would be a 
difficult matter to name a science under whose 
cloak it has not practiced its wild pranks. The 
exact science of astronomy lay hidden in astrology, which reared 
a numerous progeny of augurs, soothsayers and interpreters of 
dreams. It was parent to the many simpletons who, misled by 
alchemy, endeavored, with the aid of the " philosopher's stone," 
to turn everything into gold, and make man immortal. Religious 
superstitions gave birth to sorcery, to apparitions, hobgoblins and 
phantoms ; and prompted the interpreters of human laws to 
institute the abominable ordeals of fire and water, subsequently 
eclipsed in cruelly by the witchcraft laws. It is not astonishing 
that superstition should have usurped a seat and secured even 
legal recognition in the domain of medicine, when its fetichtic 
origin is remembered. The medical literature of the Middle 
Ages shows that many devotees of the art of healing exerted the 
ignoble skill of swimming with the tide of superstition, and of 
subordinating their profession to its mandates. 

Medical superstition was largely based on certain views as to 
the nature of disease. Before man had accustomed himself to 
look for cause and effect in the domain of nature, and before 
physiology had cleared up the secrets of the mechanical pro- 
cesses associated with life, the cause of disease was sought for, 
not in the degenerative changes and perverted tissue metamor- 
phosis of the body itself, but in the influence of some external 

128 History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

evil agent, promptly personified, in accordance with the custom 
of early man, when he could find no other explanation for natural 
mutations affecting his well-being. A higher power, a demon 
under the guise of disease, took possession of its victim. This 
view of disease was not only almost universally accepted by the 
illiterate classes, but was so firmly rooted in the minds of learned 
physicians that traces of it are detectable in medical works of 
the eighteenth century. An eminent professor of Medical Juris- 
prudence in an American college, displayed decided traces of 
these old superstitions when, in October, i888, he publicly 
stated that insanity of the sexual perversion type was an evi- 
dence of demoniacal possession. Certain outcast clergymen 
reap a golden harvest by pretending to exorcise the insane in 
the larger cities of the United States. With these facts in mind, 
it is not surprising that in the Middle Ages, mental diseases, 
epilepsy and nightmare were, without hesitation, declared to be 
due to visitations of ghosts and spirits. 

Brunschwyck's " Book for Distilling Composite Things " has 
a chapter entitled "A Good Water to Drive out Demons and 
Demonic Spirits," which is introduced by a picture of a number 
of these diabolical monsters (Figure 71). When forced to con- 
tend with such conceptions, the efforts of the healing art were 
necessarily directed along different channels than at the present 
day, and consisted in great part of banishing and warding off 
the encroachments of these demons of disease. The most 
varied means were adopted to accomplish this end. Talismen 
and amulets were much in favor. These means of protection, 
still employed by some people, were formerly extensively pre- 
scribed by physicians. As late as 1731 the " Dispensatorium 
Regium Electorale Borusso-Brandenburgicum " contains a for- 
mula for an amulet to ward off the plague, the terror of the 
Middle Ages. This formula seems rather to have originated in 
a witch's-kitchen than in the august College of Physicians of the 
youthful Prussian kingdom. The following is the formula, from 
a Pharmacopoeia one hundred and fifty years old : 

*' Helmonfs Amulet for the Plague, — Although some may dis- 
parage the virtues of this remedy, it has nevertheless proven its 
efficacy in many instances, particularly during the war between 
the imperialists and rebels in Hungary, where the plague raged 

Medical Superstition. 129 

in a terrible manner. It gained such a reputation throughout 
the country that all ' barbers and blear-eyed witches * are already 
acquainted with its virtues. It is prepared in the following man- 
ner : Large, old frogs, caught in the month of June, are hung 
up by their hind legs over a dish covered with wax, which has 
been placed over a moderate fire. After a few days the frogs 
discharge horrible fumes and slaver, which attract every kind 
of worms and flies. These stick to the wax, and add their own 
drivel to the mess. When the frogs are dead, roast and mix 
them with the carefully preserved mixture of wax and drivel, 
and shape this compound into small rolls, or imitate the shapes 
of frogs. One of these is sewn into a cloth, and worn in the 
region of the heart, suspended by a silk thread around the neck. 
The longer one wears these the more certainly will he be pro- 
tected from the ravages of the plague.'' 

The "Corpus Pharmaceutico-Chymico-Medicum Universale," 
of Joh. H. Junkens, published in 1697, contains a still richer 
collection of similar formulas. The supposition was, that disease 
entertained the same dislike for these disgusting and nauseating 
substances as the human being, and the wearer of them, there- 
fore, had nothing to fear from the demons of disease. It is for 
this reason that the component parts of many amulets are not of 
very delicate nature. For epistaxis, JUnkens, in his " Univer- 
sal Pharmacopoeia," recommends the following compound under 
the euphonious name of ** Sacculus pro amuleto in haemorrhagia 
narium Senneri." "A small bag of red silk, filled with frog's ash, 
moss from a human skull, sea beans, frog's-root, etc., is worn 
suspended from the neck by a silken thread." The moss from 
human skull, "Usnea cranii humani," was either Parmelia saxatilis 
or Parmelia omphalodes. Lemery, in the " Cours de Chimie," 
published in 1675, says of it: "When the skulls have been 
exposed to the air for many years, a kind of green moss grows 
upon them which is called Usne. It is imported from Ireland, 
where it is customary to allow executed criminals to hang on 
posts in the field until they drop off piecemeal. After the skin 
and meat have disappeared, the moss develops on the skull. It 
is very astringent, and stops bleeding when applied externally. 
Taken internally it is also good for epilepsy, for it contains an 
abundance of volatile cranial salts." 

130 History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

Sea beans are the lids of a certain snail's shell (Turbo cochlus, 
rugosus, etc). . The shells were worn as amulets for epistaxis, 
used as a vermifuge and diuretic, and applied to the abdomen in 
colic. Oswald Troll, in his " Basilica Chymica," gives minute 
directions for preparing amulets, as follows : 

Zenexion seu Xenzethon Paracehi. — First you have an instrument made for 
modeling tablettes that shall weigh \%, drachms each. This instrument is to 
consist of three parts, (i) An upper plate engraved with a seal, embodying a 
snake. (2) A lower part made in the shape of an anvil, with a scorpion engraved 
on the upper surface ; and (3) a ring to retain the mass when it is compressed 
between the upper and lower pieces. The instrument should be made at a time 
when sun and moon enter the sign of the scorpion. The tablettes should also be 
made at this time, or, at least, when the moon enters the sign of the scorpion ; 
for in this manner the things on high and those of the lower region? are married 
by a sympathetic and inseparable union. These amulets or constellated tablettes 
are composed of 

** 2 ounces dried frogs. 
Zenith juvencularum (Sanguinis menstrui primi), as much as you can secure. 
%, ounce white or red arsenic. 
3 drachms tormentilla. 

1 drachm pearls (that have not been perforated). 
]/^ drachm each of corals, hyacinths and emeralds. 

2 scruples of oriental saffron. 

To please the sense of smell, a few grains of musk or ambergris may be added. 
All parts are now finely powdered and made into a mass by the admixture 
of tragacanth and rosewater." 

The tablettes (Pentacula) are now formed at the time men- 
tioned, and by the instrument described above ; or, if one prefer, 
they may be made in the shape of a heart. 

" Use. — These Pentacula are worn between the wearing 
apparel in the region of the heart. They not only fortify the 
wearer against the plague, but also counteract all poisons and 
nullify pernicious astral influences." 

Precious stones were reputed to have power to protect from 
disease, and were consequently worn for this purpose, set in gold, 
silver or steel. Diamonds worn on the left arm were a protec- 
tion against madness, wild animals, war, quarrels, poison and 
delirium. That precious stones were quite generally pressed 
into this service, is witnessed by the " Zenexton pro ditioribus 
Magnatibus," the ureparation of which is thus described by 
Oswald Troll ; 

Medical Superstition, 131 

" A capsule of purest gold is made, and into it a golden tube, 
whose walls are perforated by numerous openings, is securely 
fastened. On one side of the capsule a brilliant sapphire is 
attached, and surrounded by four frog-stones; the other side 
being similarly embellished by a large hyacinth. The capsule 
is then filled with ground frogs and the best of vinegar, and the 
perforated tube running through the centre of the capsule is filled 
with shreds of linen, * Quod primo virginis menstruo, quae annum 
decimum quintum nondum excesserit madefacum fuit,' having a 
care that the contents of the capsule and those of the tube may 
come in contact by way of the openings in the latter. This 
niutual contact is productive of an element of sympathy, which 
in its turn is antagonistic to all poisons, as has been conclusively 
proven by those who have worn this amulet during epidemics of 

Incantations were used to drive out disease. The peasantry 
in many parts of Europe place more confidence to-day in the 
conjuring and appeasing of disease by magical agencies than in 
the practices of qualified physicians. These ceremonies are 
ordinarily directed by pock-marked, wrinkled, blear-eyed old 
women. After repeating some traditional mystic rite, which, on 
account of its mere verbal transmission, varies greatly, the Holy 
Trinity is invoked, and fire drawn from a stone, by means of a 
steel, three times in succession. The sick person leaves the old 
hag inspired with new hope, and, since time cures many ills, the 
faith in these village sibyls will not soon die out. 

Healing powers were attributed not only to spoken but written 
words. The words chosen for this purpose were usually entirely 
meaningless, or taken from some oriental language. For the less 
he comprehends their meaning the more is the patient convinced 
of their deep magical significance. Where the modern physician 
prescribes quinine for fever, his ancient predecessors prescribed 
the simple word "Abracadabra," written on a piece of paper, 
which was swallowed by the patient, whereupon the fever was 
expected to leave the body. Small triangular slips of paper, upon 
which words from the Bible were written by consecrated hands, 
were taken by women in difficult confinements. The belief was 
current that the executioner, as the servant of death, could issue 
passports for the latter, which would protect the bejirer from thq 

132 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

hangman, from death and wounds. The use of these passports 
with them still prevailed among the soldiery of the Thirty-years 
War. The methods and notions involved in the preparation of 
amulets demonstrate what a powerful factor astrology was at one 
time in medicine. 

The custom of casting the patient's horoscope was almost 
universal during the Middle Ages. On the notion of a relation- 
ship between the metals and the planets, elsewhere described, a 
metal was frequently chosen as a remedy, which bore the same 
name as the planet which most frequently entered the constella- 
tion associated with the patient's being. At the present day, 
even, many people will take a vermifuge only at the waning of 
the moon. A foreboding appears to have permeated the notions 
entertained in the Middle Ages, that the individual members of 
creation held a certain mutual relationship to each other ; no 
attempt was made to explain this interdependence by natural 
laws, but the belief was accepted of a magical bond which united 
all creation, and of a secret sympathy permeating all nature. 

The preponderating notion that the world was created for the 
exclusive benefit of man, conditioned an affinity between the 
entire cosmos and the microcosm, and led to the belief that the 
relationship existing between certain objects in nature and man, 
could be detected either by outward similarities or by secret 
signs and agencies. Such notions led medicine into strange 
channels. Remedies were consequently not administered on the 
principle of their action, but because of their supposed sympa- 
thetic relationship to the patient or his disease. Liverwprt 
(Hepatica triloba) was used in liver disease, because its leaves 
had the shape of that organ, and on the brown under-surface its 
color. Viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare), whose flower simulates 
a snake's head, was of course good for snake-bite. Celandine 
(Chelidonium majus) was looked upon as a i)resent from heaven 
(cceli donum), since its yellow flower and yellow sap were con- 
clusive evidence that it was presented to man by the Creator to 
cure jaundice. Ramson (Gladiolus communis) has sword-like 
leaves, and its bulbs, covered with a net-like skin, resemble the 
meshes of an armor, all of which demonstrated that Providence 
had designed this plant to render man proof against the acci- 
dents of the battlefield ; hence the old knights frequently carried 

Medical Superstition. 133 

one of these roots under their steel armor, believing that they 
were thereby not only protected against wounds, but were ensured 
a victory. 

At the present day roots and herbs are still used in connection 
with superstitious practices. Many a peasant in the Black 
Forest, at Christmas-time, buys a root each of Radix victorialis 
longa and Radix victorialis rotunda, and buries this pair under 
the door-sill, hoping thereby to banish all witches and demons 
of disease, which are prone to wander about, particularly on 
Christmas eve. 

The peasant of the Hartz mountains has not heard of the 
modern scape-goats, the " bacteria." When his milk turns blue, 
he charges this to witches. To protect his milk from them noth- 
ing, in his opinion, is so effective as the blue-eyed ground ivy 
(Glechoma hederacea). He winds a wreath of it, and on the 
Maynight *' Walpurgis' night," when the witches from all quarters 
of the globe hold high carnival on the Brocken, he milks his 
cows through this wreath so that his milk shall be protected for 
the coming year. 

It was considered an easy matter to transfer a disease to 
anything with which it had a secret sympathy (an interchange- 
able term for affinity and relationship). The action of the so- 
called mummy or sympathetic tgg, extensively employed by 
Theophrastus Bombastus Paracelsus, of Hohenheim, in the six- 
teenth century, and by his followers, the so-called Paracelsists, 
after him, was accounted for on this notion. To prepare this 
mummy an empty chicken's ^gg, filled with warm blood from a 
healthy individual, was carefully sealed and at once placed under 
a brooding hen, so that its vitality should not escape with the 
decreasing temperature. After a few weeks it was placed in an 
oven and subjected to heat for a length of time sufficient to bake 
bread. An egg prepared in this manner was supposed to cure 
every disease ; for, as the blood was supposed to be the true 
seat of disease, every disease would naturally have a greater 
affinity for this tgg which contained blood in such a concen- 
trated form. The disease being thus bound to escape to the 
sympathetic egg, it was only necessary, for a cure in a given 
case, to place the ^gg in contact with the diseased part and sub- 
sequently bury it in the earth. 

134 History of Ancient Phartnacy, 

Trees were supposed to be effective mediums to charm away 
disease. Since Judas was believed to have hanged himself to 
an elder tree, the elder was supposed to possess magical powers. 
Inasmuch as the administration of an infusion of its leaves 
causes diaphoresis and heat, the tea was, on the principle of 
" Similia similibus curantur," credited with being in secret sym- 
pathy with fevers, and would cure them if begged to do so in a 
suppliant mood. For this reason, at the present day, fever 
patients in North Germany repair to the elder tree, and speak 

these words : 

" O beloved elder tree. 
Of my fever set me free ; 
Since Judas false from you did hang, 
I give to you my fev'rish pang." 

The patient then breaks a twig from the tree and plants it in 
the ground, whereupon, if the cure progresses as it should, the 
fever leaves the sufferer and follows the course of the twig into 
the earth, like lightning gliding along the rod. 

The price of the drug, also, is oftentimes of importance. In 
north Germany seven, and in France nine, are preferred num- 
bers. When a sibyl buys camphor to wear in a bag for her 
rheumatism, she always buys nine-pence worth, as otherwise it 
would not help. The belief was current that certain remedies 
could cure a patient in absentia. One celebrated remedy of this 
kind was the wonderful weapon salve of Paracelsus, which con- 
sisted of boar's and bear's fat, rain-worms, hog's-brain, yellow 
sandal, mummy, bloodstone and moss from the skull of a hanged 
criminal, which latter was to be gathered at the waxing of the 
moon. The author of the formula says : " The virtues of this 
salve are remarkable, for with it you can heal all kinds of 
wounds, though the patient be miles away, provided you can but 
secure the weapon with which the wound was inflicted. This 
weapon must be greased once a day with this salve, then tied up 
in a clean linen cloth and preserved in a warm locality. It 
should be protected from dust and cold draughts, otherwise the 
patient would experience great pain and become delirious. 
Although this cure may appear supernatural, and consequently 
be discountenanced by many, I can, nevertheless, assure the 
reader that this is not the case, for those initiated in the natural 

Medical Superstition. 135 

sciences know from experience, and have proven by diligent 
research, that the cure is accomplished by means of a certain 
magnetic force that emanates from the stars, and acts upon the 
salve, conveying the latter*s magnetic force through the air and 
to the wound." 

The influence exerted by astrology on medicine in those days 
is again illustrated here. In Hesse, also, according to popu- 
lar belief, patients were cured in absentia. In the case of a 
fractured limb, particularly of an animal, the surgical magician 
bandaged the broken leg of a table or chair, at the same time 
repeating his magic rite. The bandaged object was not to be 
interfered with for nine days, when at the expiration of this time, 
not the broken table-leg, but the patient's limb, would have 

At all times man's most fervent desire has been to lift the 
veil that hides from him the future. Hieronymus Bock, in his 
"New Herb-Book of the Actions and Names of Herbs that 
Grow in Germany," Strassburg, 155 1, relates that the large gall- 
nuts possess the property of disclosing whether the coming year 
will be a prosperous one, or whether war will desolate or pesti- 
lence rule the land. " In the month of January take a well-pre- 
served gall-nut, and, on breaking it in two, you will find one of 
three things, a fly, a maggot, or a spider. The fly denotes war ; 
the maggot, hard times; and the spider, disease." The vegetable 
excrescence known as the gall-nut is produced by the deposit of 
the eggs of the insect (Cynips gallae tinctoria) in the bark and 
leaves of the oak (Quercus infectoria). This causes an increased 
flow of sap to these parts, and by the time the larvae have fairly 
developed, they find themselves thoroughly protected by a pulpy 
growth. In the course of its generative metamorphosis the larva 
changes into a chrysalis, and finally into the gall insect, which 
escapes from the gall-nut. As the gall-insect failed to protect its 
discovery of the process of manufacturing gall-nuts, other insects, 
some of them resembling a spider more than a fly, encroach upon 
its prerogatives. This latter fact, coupled with the different 
stages of development in which the gall-insect is found during 
its generative changes, accounts for the various specimens of 
animal life met with in the gall-nut. 

The healing art of old was also called upon to prop up the 

136 H'isiory of Ancient Fharmacy, 

memory. One remedy of this kind is the fruit of Anacardium. 
"One-half ounce of this taken internally strengthens the intel- 
lect, banishes forgetfulness, and is good for weakness of the brain 
resulting from cold or moisture." Many of these superstitions 
still persist to the present day. The " hoodoo " and the " mas- 
cot " play an active part in modern life. Witchcraft trials, under 
a modified form, have recently occurred in a western State ; and 
the "witch doctress '* is in use in Brooklyn. The old fetichtic 
ideas hold their own. With respectable American college profes- 
sors proclaiming their belief in demon possession ; with medical 
journals containing articles advocating similar doctrines ; with 
Georgia medical dreamers advocating "hairless dogs" in the 
treatment of rheumatism on the " sympathy " principle ; with the 
"hunchback"- touching guard against disease in full luxuriance 
in an Atlantic city ; with vast industries devoted to the manu- 
facture of " patent " medicines, and a popular press teeming 
with their marvelous virtues, it is hardly time to boa^ about 
general enlightenment, and acridly criticise the Middle Ages. An 
age which accepts remedies prescribed by " spirits," " angels," 
etc., cannot be too tolerant of the errors of preceding periods. 

fpBarmatg ani (VCtagic of feoee. 

'• Tbou'lt find, this drink thy blr>o<l compelling. 
Each woman beautiful as Helen. '^ 

— Faust. 


VIlBTinacn aaA Magic at Coo*. 

2 HE important part which " love " plays in the drama 
of life, prepares us for the discovery that men 
and women, at a very early period, resorted to 
magical influences for exciting the affections. 
The belief existed among the older nations, as 
among the lower orders to-day, that there were magical and 
physical agents by means of which one person could secure 
the passionate love of another. The belief in the magical 
agents was a survival of the teachings of fetichism. The belief 
in the physical agents arose from the influence certain drugs 
were observed to exert on the mind. From the "wine which 
maketh glad the heart of man," to the "grief dispelling ne- 
penthe" of Homer, was but a step. Nepenthe was presented 
by Helen to Telemachus at the house of Menelaus the Good, 
that he might forget his sorrows. The formula for this drink 
had been obtained from " Polydamnoes, wife of Thous of Egypt, 
where the rich earth brings forth precious but also many 
dangerous herbs." The composition of Homer's "nepenthe" 
cannot now be determined, but it seems certain that the " nepen- 
thes destillatoria " of Linnxus was not its source. It has beeiv 
asserted that it was prepared from the Egyptian henbane (byos- 
cyamus datura and albus) used by the priests to appease the 
evil principle. Typhon Miquel" declares that the poppy, whose 
properties were known before the days of Hippocrates, corre- 
sponds most to the description given of fT/rttvBci. It has been 
said that it was a decoction of Indian Hemp, whose intoxicating 
properties were known from a very remote period. 

■ Hom.rig Flora. (.39} 

140 History of Ancient'^Ptiarmacy, 

Herodotus, " Father of History," says that the " Scythians 
place in the ground three stakes inclining toward each other, and 
fasten woolen blankets tightly over them. In the space between 
the stakes is a pan filled with red-hot stones. There grows in 
their country a species of hemp which resembles flax, only it is 
taller and thicker. The Scythians throw the seeds of this hemp 
upon the hot stones, when immediately a thick vapor arises, 
more dense than in a Grecian sweat-bath. This steaming takes 
the place of a bath with the Scythians, and under its influence 
they give utterance to shouts of delight." Hasheesh is still 
extracted from gunjah, the leaves, flowers and fruits of the female 
hemp plant. This, in Mohammedan countries, takes the place of 
alcoholic drinks, and was used by the "Old Man of the Moun- 
tain" to transport his dupes to an imaginary paradise filled with 
houris. In moderate doses it produces cheerfulness, and hence 
has been used in the treatment of melancholia. The Asiatics 
call it the "Exciter of Desire," the "Cementer of Friendship" 
and the "Laugh Provoker." " Bang," usdd by the Malays as an 
intoxicant, contains hasheesh. As hasheesh, bang and opium 
(when smoked) produce voluptuous visions and sensations, the 
conclusion was naturally drawn that these or similar agents could 
produce love. The older fetichism also gave rise to the belief 
in the love charm. From the two conceptions sprang the Greek 
myth Circe. The traffic in charms was not so dangerous as that 
in philters, which were an early source of revenue to the Greeks. 
The results of this traffic were so infamous that it was forbidden 
by Lycurgus and Solon, whose laws crushed out the native dealers. 
Later, foreign sorceresses gained a foothold on Grecian soil. 
Keramiekos, "the Potters' Quarter" of Athens, where laborers 
and tradespeoi)le dwelt, swarmed with Phrygian and Thessalian 
hags who sold poisons, aphrodisiacs and love-charms. The 
majority of these substances were no doubt narcotics. 

In ancient times the mandrake (Mandragora officinalis), 
which grows very abundantly in Greece, enjoyed the greatest 
reputation as a philter. For ages it had been reputed to have 
magical properties. It is probably referred to by Homer when 
speaking of the excellent remedy that Hermes gave to Odysseus 
to counteract the charmed draught administered by Circe ; 
"Black is its root, and milk-white its flower, Moly 'tis named by 

Pharmacy and Magic of Love. 

the gods ; Por martals 'tis difficult to dig it, but to celestials all 
is possible." The black, carrot-like root, which in its lower half 
frequently parts into two branches, and is beset by small hirsute 
filaments, somewhat resembles the human form, whence the 
name given by Pythagoras, dvBpojjrofiupqirj — man-like shape. 
Columella called it the " Planta semihominis" — half-man plant. 

alcatmntatt cdotntfUctrnttum cctofif c 

Pliny the Klder says that "overindulgence in it will cause death, 
but in moderation it produces a gentle soporific effect. An in- 
fusion of it is taken for snake-bite, and is given before operations 
to dull the senses, for in some instances the mere smelling of it 
will induce sleep." Frontinus says that Marhabel, when sent by 


History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

the Carthaginians to subdue the rebellious Africans, used this 
soporific quality of mandrake to vanquish the enemy. He placed 
mandrake in wine, and feigning a retreat, allowed this to fall 
into the hands of the enemy who, drinking, fell Into deep slum- 
ber and were easily captured. 

Dioscorides, Pliny, and later botanists, differentiate between 
male and female plants, probably varieties of the same species. 
Dioscorides calls the male " Morion," and the female, "Thrida- 
cias." The " Ortus sanitatis," of i486, has figures of two man- 
drakes reproduced in figures 73 and 74. , 

The artist enormously exaggerated the natural appearance of 
the roots. 

The King James version of the Bible says that Reuben 
gathered mandrake, and his mother, Leah, bribed 
Rachel,* the favorite, with them, to permit her 
to enjoy Jacob's affection. 

The old chap books turned the biblical story 
into the use of mandrake root, as a philter, by 
Leah. It therefore gained great repute as a love 
potion in the period antecedent to the "Refor- 
mation." Theriac dealers and hunters carved 
the roots Into shapes resembling little men and 
women, ^nd often substituted the root of Bry- 
onia. They then sunk grass and millet-seeds 
into the head part, and buried these in moist 
ground until filaments grew which resembled 
hair. When dried, these figures were called 
mandrakes, and were bought at a high price for 
household deities. In secret they were richly ^^y^ '^^? 
dressed, received a share of each meal, and 
were bathed in wine on Saturday evening. They, 
like "fern-seed," had the power to confer invisibility. They 
made the poor rich, healed all diseases, and made their owner 
fortunate in love. 

Figure 75 represents one of these mandrakes now, in the 
Germanic Museum at Nuremburg. 

The price of the root was enhanced by the story that it grew 
under the gallows of a victim of a judicial murder, and could 

Pharmacy and Magie of Love. 


only be dug &t great risk to life, since that its horrible shrieks, 
when drawn from the earth, might strike the hearer dead. In 
gathering it the ears had to be closed with wax. One end of a rope 
was tied to the root, and the other to a black dog, who perished 
in pulling it out. Figure 76 (a reduced copy of a fifteenth cen- 
tury picture, in the Germanic Museum), represents this procedure. 

Fig. 76. 
As an additional precaution, the digger blows a horn to drown 
the death-dealing shrieks of the mandrake. Goethe, on one 
occasion refers to this tradition : 

" One twaddles and rants about Ihe black dc^. 
Another prates and dotes on the mandrake." 

Even Pliny speaks of the dangers associated with the digging 
of the mandrake. "Whoever would dig it must avoid having the 
wind against him, and when he digs should face in the direction 
of the setting sun." 

144 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

Another love charm employed by the Greeks was the Thes- 
salian herb " Catananche," which cannot now be identified. 
The modern "Catananche coerulea" is identical with the 
" DatisCa cannabina " of Dioscorides. Pliny mentions Cata- 
nanche very briefly, as follows : " For the purpose of exposing 
this humbug, it suffices to say, that the only reason that this 
plant was supposed to possess powers to charm, was because 
that, upon drying, it assumed a shape somewhat resembling the 
talons of a hawk." On the basis of this meagre report, some 
feel justified in declaring it to be " Ornithopus compressus,'* or 
the Astragalus pugniformis. Properties similar to those of 
Catananche were ascribed to the plant '* Cemos," probably the 
Plantago cretica. 

When these physical agents did not produce the desired 
result, or when they produced grave mischief, incantations 
were employed to secure the love so much coveted. Theocritus, 
who lived at Syracuse 300 B. C, vividly describes these incanta- 
tions in his "Sorceress." The enamored Simaetha, a maid of 
Syracuse, finding herself betrayed and slighted by her beloved 
Delphis, determines upon regaining his love by charms and 
incantations. For this purpose she repairs with her servant, 
Thestylis, by the light of the moon, to the cross-roads between 
the city and the sea. The object of their incantations is to 
cause the person, on whom the charm is designed to work, to 
suff'er like the inanimate objects used in the ceremonial. She 
begins the rite by encircling the cauldron with bands of finest 
wool. She then calls upon the gentle Selene, and the repulsive 
Hecate (whom Theocritus identifies with Artemis), to assist her. 
Hecate, thought to be a three-headed, snake-haired and snake- 
footed witch of extraordinary size, disguised in black, and 
accompanied by giant dogs, wandered about at midnight, and 
as she loitered about the cross-roads was called the cross-roads 
goddess. At the beginning of the incantation proper, Simaetha 
spins a top, and during the incantation, whilst sacrificing the 
necessary objects, she speaks the following words, in which she 
discloses all the varied emotions of a rejected lover : 

Pharmacy and Magic of Love, 145 

** Where are my laurels ? and my philters, where ? 
Quick bring them, Thestylis — the charm prepare ; 
This purple fillet round the cauldron strain. 
That I with spells may prove my perjur'd swain ; 
For since he rapt my door twelve days are fled. 
Nor knows he whether I'm alive or dead ; 
Perhaps to some new face his heart's inclined. 
For love has wings, and he a changeful mind. 
To the Palaestra with the morn I'll go. 
And see and ask him, why he shuns me so ? 
Meanwhile my charms shall work : O queen of night ! 
Pale moon, assist me with refulgent light ; 
My imprecations I address to thee, 
Great goddess, and infernal Hccat^ 

Stain'd with black gore, whom even gaunt mastiffs dread. 
Whene'er she haunts the mansions of the dead ; 
Hail, horrid Hecate ! and aid me still 
With Circe's power, or Perimeda's skill, 
Or mad Medea's art, — Restore, my charms, 
My lingering Delphis to my longing arms." 

" The cake's consum'd — burn, Thestylis, the rest 
In flames ; what frenzy has your mind possest ? 
Am I your scorn, that thus you disobey, 
Base maid, my strict commands ? — Strew salt and say, 
* Thus Delphis' bones I strew, — Restore, my charms, 
The perjur'd Delphis to my longing arms.' " 

** Delphis inflames my bosom with desire ; 
For him I burn this laurel in the fire ; 
And as it fumes and crackles in the blaze, 
And without ashes instantly decays. 
So may the flesh of Delphis burn, — My charms, 
Restore the perjur'd Delphis to my arms. 



As melts this waxen form, by fire defac'd, 

So in love's flames may Myndian Delphis waste ; 

And as this brazen wheel, tho' quick roll'd round. 

Returns, and in its orbit still is found, 

So may his love return, — Restore my charms. 

The lingering Delphis to my longing arms. 

I'll stew the bran, Diana's power can bow 

Rough Rhadamanth, and all that's stern below, 

Hark I hark ! The village dogs ! the goddess soon 

Will come — the dogs terrific bay the moon — 

Strike, strike the sounding brass, — Restore, my charms. 

Restore false Delphis to my longing arms. 

146 History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

** Calm is the ocean, silent is the wind, 
But grief's black tempest rages in my mind, 
I burn for him whose perfidy betray*d 
My innocence ; and me, ah, thoughtless maid ! 
Robb'd of my richest gem,— Restore, my charms, 
False Delphis to my long-deluded arms. 

** I pour libations thrice, and thrice I pray ; 
shine, great goddess, with auspicious ray. 
Whoe'er she be, blest nymph ! that now detains 
My fugitive in Love's delightful chains ; 
he she forever in oblivion lost. 
Like Ariadne, Morn on Dia's coast. 
Abandon' d by false Theseus, — O, my charms, 
Restore the lovely Delphis to my arms. 

** Hippomanes, a plant Arcadia bears. 
Makes the colts mad, and stimulates the mares. 
O'er hills, thro' streams they rage ; O, could I see 
Young Delphis thus run madding after me. 
And (|uil the fam'd Pah>3stra ! O, my charms, 
Restore false Delphis to my longing arms. 

" This garment's fringe, which Delphis wont to wear, 
To burn in flames 1 into tatters tear. 
Oh, cruel Love ! that my best life-blood drains 
From my pale limbs, and empties all my veins. 
As leeches suck young steeds, — Restore, my charms. 
My lingering Delphis to my longing arms. 

•• A lizard bruis'd shall make a potent bowl. 
And charm, to morrow, his obdurate soul ; 
Meanwhile this potion on his threshold spill. 
Where, though despis'd, my soul inhabits still ; 
No kindness he nor pity will repay ; 
Spit on the threshold, Thcstylis, and say, 
*Thus Delphis' bones 1 strew *, — Restore, my charms, 
The ilear, deluding Delphis to my arms. 

—Fawkk's Thkck ritus, 

Odyllum II, Pharmaceutica).*' 

Lucian, the satirist, >Yhi> livetl three hundred years after 
Theocritus, doscrilies a love incantation in a dialogue between 
Melitta and Hacchis : 

**/?<Ui-*ijr — There is. dear friend, an able norceress in Syria. Her methods, 
Melitta, are »imple ; she takes hut a ilrachma and a K^tf of bread, and upon 
this seven obolus must aUo Ue. sonu' salt, sulphur and a torch. These she 

Pharmacy and Magic of Love. 147 

takes, and a jug of wine is procured, and, if possible, a piece of clothing or the 
slippers'' — 

^* Melitta — I have his slippers ! " 

"^flff^w— These she hangs from a nail, and under them bums the sulphur, 
and of the salt she also throws some into the fire. During this act she speaks 
the names of both parties, yours and his. Then she draws a top from her 
bosom and spins it, whilst, with fluent tongue, she repeats a magic rite inr 
barbarous and dreadful sounding words. This is the way in which she did it 
that time, and shortly thereafter Phanias, in spite of his comrades' jeers and the 
entreaties of Phoebe, with whom he was together, returned to my arms, 
evidently in consequence of this incantation." 

The Greeks used aphrodisiac preparations, which were termed 
Satyrion, from the satyrs, the symbols of sensuality. These satyr- 
ions were often composed of orchids, chosen on account of the 
suggestive shape of their bulbs. They were often destitute of 
aught but imaginary aphrodisiac properties. Pliny says that their 
properties often became manifest when taken into the hand, but 
were much more powerfully developed when taken in dry wines. 
Dogwort (Anacamptis pyramidalis), which has two bulbs, one 
withered and the other fresh and juicy, is called cynosorchis by 
Theophrastus, who says that in Thessaly the men drink the 
larger fresh root in goat's-milk as an aphrodisiac, and the smaller 
as a sexual sedative. They are therefore antagonistic. This 
belief in the aphrodisiac powers of the orchid was almost univer- 
sal, and survives to-day in the popular designation of the bulb- 
pair, in some parts of the United States, as **Adam and Eve.** 
Among the Northern nations the legend was prevalent that the 
giantess, Brana, presented Bronn-grass to her love, Halfdan, while 
Freya (the goddess of love), presented Freya-grass to those she 
met. Both "grasses'* were orchids. The plant Crataegis was 
also used in satyrion. Of it two varieties were mentioned, 
" Thelygonos,*' the girl-producing, and "Androgonos,** the boy- 
producing kind. They are supposed to be identical with the 
mercury-weed (Mercurialis tomentosa), which belongs to the 

The superstitions associated with these bulbs no doubt 
sprung from their peculiar shape, for, in antiquity, the action of 
the drugs was supposed to depend on similarities and secret signs. 
Pliny further mentions, as ingredients of love-charms, the " Ster- 
gethron** (Sempervivium tectorum), " Horminos agrios ** (Salvia 

14^ History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

silvestris," and the "sea-fennel" (Crithmum maritimum), which 
latter Hecate served to Theseus at table as a vegetable. 

The practice of love-magic by the Egyptians is evident from 
numerous formulse on the papyri unearthed by Kbers, who, in his 
" Uarda," gives an exquisite picture of an old sorceress Hekt. 
Paaker, the villain of the story, enters her cave to secure a love- 
charm. "At the side of the sorceress was awheel suspended 
between the teeth of a wooden fork, and kept in perpetual 
motion. A large coal-black tom-cat cowered at her side, and 
sniffed at the heads of crows and owls deprived of their eyes. 
When Paaker entered the cave, the old crone shrieked: 'Does 
the water boil ? Then throw in the ape's eye and the ibis feather, 
and the linen rags with the black signs. * *' * This alone 
binds hearts. Three is the man ; Four is the woman ; and Seven 
the indivisible ! ' " 

The grammarian, Apion, of Oasis, in Egypt, who lived during 
the reign of the Emperors Tiberius and Claudius, maintains, 
according to Pliny, that the mere touching the herb Anacamp- 
seros (Sedum anacampseros), would rekindle love, even should 
hate have usurped its place. 

At no time was there more barefaced deception practiced 
with oracles, spirits and conjurations ; never was the trade of the 
juggler and sorceress easier or more lucrative, and nowhere was 
the art of preparing love-charms better developed, than at Rome 
during the reign of the first emperors. The riches garnered in 
this capital of the world lent an air of ease to life, which led to 
all sorts of demoralizing practices. 

Attempts were often made to exchange, by magical or medici- 
nal means, these riches for the love so much courted and coveted 
by mankind in all ages. In this, the Sagae and Medicae willingly 
lent a helping hand. These closely allied Sagae and Medicae 
came from the ranks of immoral crones, who not only plied a 
lucrative trade in love-charms but treated venereal diseases, 
practiced abortion,, and in cold blood suffocated burdensome 
newly-born infants in the folds of their dress. In the vile dens 
of these unprincipled women, the deadly Halicacabum, pre- 
pared from the winter cherry (Physalis somnifera) and the com- 
mon night-shade (Solanum nigrum), was kept on sale for the 
removal of inconvenient rivals. 

Pharmacy and Magic of Love, 149 

In reviewing the various Trychnos or Strychnos species, 
Pliny states that the Halicacabum, ** in the dose of one drachm, 
awakens carnal desires, and causes visionary forms and pictures 
to appear as real. Double this dose will cause actual madness, 
and a further increase, death." At night the Sagse culled poison- 
ous herbs, and took bones and hair from the dead with which 
to prepare the vile decoctions used by them. 

Horace, who one night met the notorious Canidia (mentioned 
by several Roman writers) on the ^squilian Hill, the " Potter's 
Field '* of Rome, thus describes her practices : 

** But oh ! nor thief, nor savage beast, 
That used these gardens to infest. 
E'er gave me half such care and pains 
As they, who turn poor people's brains 
With venom'd drug and magic lay — 
These I can never fright away. 
For when the beauteous queen of night 
Uplifts her head adorn'd with light. 
Hither they come, pernicious crones ! 
To gather poisonous herbs and bones. 
Canidia, with dishevelled hair, 
(Black was her robe, her feet were bare). 
With Sagana, infernal dame ! 
Her elder sister, hither came. 
With yellings dire they fiU'd the place. 
And hideous pale was cither's face. 
Soon with their nails they scrap' d the ground, 
And filled a magic trench profound 
With a black lamb's thick streaming gore. 
Whose members with their teeth they tore. 
That they may charm some sprite to tell 
Some curious anecdote from hell. 
The beldams then two figures brought ; 
Of wool and wax the forms were wrought ; 
The woolen was erect and tall. 
And scourged the waxen image small. 
Which in a suppliant, servile mood. 
With dying air just gasping stood. 
On Hecate one beldam calls ; 
The other to the furies bawls, 
While serpents crawl along the ground. 
And hell-born bitches howl around. 
The blushing moon, to shun the sight. 
Behind a tomb withdrew her light." 

— Francis' Horace (Satire VII). 

150 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

* , 

One of Canidia*s decoctions was known as the "cup of 
desire," but the ingredients of this draught have not been 

According to the tradition, the most common ingredient of 
Roman philters was the " Hippomane." This, Pliny states, was 
said to possess such powers, that a brazen mare, in the casting 
of which Hippomane had been incorporated, caused stallions 
brought in its vicinity to be transported with passion. The old 
writers differ much as to the nature and origin of this drug. At 
all events it should not be confounded with the mancinella tree 
(Hippomane Mancinella), whose shade, as the legend says, will 
cause the death of the person sleeping in it. According to 
Theocritus it was an Arcadian herb, on eating which the horses 
became frantic. Pliny, however, says : " On the forehead of a 
new-born colt is found a fleshy protuberance, which is swallowed 
by the mother before allowing the colt to suckle. This fleshy 
growth was used by the Sagae in the preparation of Hippomane." 
Ovid and Juvenal adopt this view of the nature of Hippomane. 
This matter admits of a very simple explanation. The colts, like 
the young of most animals, when born, are surrounded by a mem- 
brane. To facilitate the liberation of the colt, the mother 
swallows this and the afterbirth.* During this process a liquid, 
frequently mixed with a dark, solid mass, escapes, which latter 
was collected and, in all probability, was used in the preparation 
of the drug. Evidently Hippomane was already in part classed 
with the "Aphrodisiaca" which the Sagae prepared, and which 
had actual aphrodisiac properties. 

Satyrion is mentioned in the ** Satyricon " of Petronius, which 
was written to satirize Nero. From the description there given, 
this potion seems to have been a very active aphrodisiac. As a 
rule, these drinks were known as "Aquae amatrices," and were 
very much in vogue among the Romans. Substances of the most 
varied origin were incorporated in these infernal decoctions. 
Gall of wild boars, ambergris, turtle-eggs, sea-mullets, cuttlefish 
(the latter were known as " Uvae marinae "), smelts, cantharides, 
crickets and other animals and their products, were extracted 
by wine. The plant-kingdom contributed its share to these 
compounds. According to Martial, puff'-balls, probably Lyco- 

* Except in England. 

Pharmacy and Magic of Love, 151 

perdon cervinum, and other fungi, were also employed. Ovid 
mentions a number of these substances, all of which were more 
or less injurious, and had many victims. Lucretius, who, in his 
didactic poem, " De Rerum Natura," advocated the philosophy 
of Epicurus, is said to have taken his life during the delirium of 
a terrible satyriasis caused by these draughts. Lucullus, the 
bon vivant, came to his end in a similar manner. His freedman, 
Kalisthenes, gave him a love-drink for the purpose of retaining 
his good-will forever, from the effects of which he died.* 

In the Middle Ages, the belief in philters was wide-spread. 
Gottfried, of Strassburg, in the thirteenth century, states that the 
love of " Tristan and Isolde," was the result of a love-drink. 
The mother prepared a love-draught, which Isolde, her daughter, 
princess of Eyreland, was to drink with her betrothed. King Mark, 
upon reaching Cornwall. By a servant's oversight, the potion is 
divided between Tristan and Isolde, and no sooner had they 
tasted of it, when both fell deeply in love. Although the author 
of " Tristan and Isolde," is very frank, and describes lovers in 
attitudes which modern erotic poets pass over in silence, he does 
not disclose the ingredients of this draught. 

In Germany, henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) enjoyed consider- 
able reputation as a philter. It was the root of this plant which 
the rat-catcher of Hamelin employed to secure a kiss from 
Regina, the proud daughter of the Burgomaster Gruwelholt. 
The sequel of this beautiful romance reveals that during the 
celebration of her engagement to Heribert, her love for the rat- 
catcher broke out ; and 

** She flew to the arms of the fiddler, 
And love distracted, caressed him." 

In "The Book of Nature" of Megenberg, written in 1350, 
various herbs are recommended as philters. " The vervain 
(Verbena officinalis), which creates love between man and 
woman, is of great service to sorcerers ; and this they know full 
well that have been in the net, but they will not let the secret 
out." Vervain, in Anglo-Saxon countries, hindered " witches of 
their will." 

Love-charms begin now to assume a purely fetichtic char- 

• Plutarch, chapter 45. 

152 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

acter. The influence of Christianity turned the inspired sor- 
ceress of pagan days into witches. The Nicors of the North- 
ern races became united into " Old Nick." The god " Pan " of 
the Romans became the Devil. The superstitions of the people 
did not vanish but became changed. Rites which had been 
divine became devilish. The hysterical females and nervous men 
who had been the admired of the gods and goddesses, became 
the devil's brides or husbands, the incubi and succubi of the 
Middle Ages. The witches of the period, like the fortune tellers 
of the present day, sought to inspire terror in order to secure 
power. The older superstitions descended to them from the 
traditional practices of the pagan sorceress, but became degraded 
into the older fetichtic ideas of the soul of the individual enter- 
ing into his or her belongings, whence their advocacy and 
administration of so many disgusting agents for awakening 
love. They advised the lover to secure such things from the 
adored one as would be likely to possess the peculiarities of 
the individual in the highest degree. The hair, nails and pieces 
of soiled linen were exceedingly valued, and were burned to ashes 
and thus administered as love powders. Females frequently 
sent their chosen ones the co-called " love-cakes," promising 
themselves great results therefrom. To prepare these the enam- 
ored fair one was obliged to resort to a peculiar procedure. She 
had to remove all her clothing in the presence of the witch. 
Then, lying down, a board was strapped to her loins, upon which 
a small stove was placed in which the cake was baked. The 
heat of the stove imparted a perspiring glow to the maiden which 
gave the bread its finishing touch and flavor. It was then sent, 
while still warm, to her indiff"erent lover. Suspecting nothing, 
he eats ; suddenly the blood rushes to his heart, and ardent love 
for the devoted bread-maker possesses him. The illustration on 
the title page of this chapter (taken from an oil painting in the 
museum at Leipzig) represents such a labor of love. The ingre- 
dients evidently possess extraordinary powers, for the lover has 
already hastened hither and appears at the door in the back- 

Stimulating aphrodisiacs were much in use in the earlier 
centuries of the Middle Ages, since Avicenna says that the 
plague-like skin-diseases of the ninth century were largely due to 

Pharmacy and Magic of Love. 153 

these drugs. The " Diasatirion" of Mesue was greatly lauded. 
Of its properties it is said : " Valet ad erectionem virgae, multi- 
plicat sperma et desiderium coeundi." Its formula, as given in 
the Cordic Dispensatory of 1546, is reproduced in the original, 
as it will hardly bear effective translation : 

3 Secacul. albi et mundi et elixati in decocto Cicerum, quorum prima 
aqua, in qua decoquebantur, sit efEusa, lib. I 

Testiculorum vulpis unc. VIII 
Radic. raphani unc. Ill 
Rad. Luph. plani unc. II 
Terantur hae tres radices posteriores et infundatur super eas lactis bubuli 
aut ovili tantum, ut lac duos digitos emineat, ajiciendo 

Olei sesami 

Butyri recentis non saliti ana unc. IIII 
Coquanter cum facilitate usque ad consumptionem lactis et donee omnino 
remollitae sint radices et habeant justam spissitudinem instar pultis crassioris, 
nam si aqueum quod in lacte et radicibus est non consumatur, situm contrahit 
hoc medicamentum. Postea adfunde omnibus hisce praedictis radicibus. 

Mellis despumati optimi lib. VI 
Succi Caeparum recentium lib. I /? 
coque omnia simul ad perfectam decoctionem deinde ab ignc depone, et insperge 
subsequentium specierum minutissimum pulverem. 

Caudarum Scinccium renibus et semine unc. I 

Seminis erucae 


Been albi 

Been rubei 

Linguae avis, id est semen fraxini arboris 

Semanis nasturtii 


Piperis longi 

Seminis Bauciae 

Seminis napi 

Pulpae seminis Asparagi maxime recentis ana drach. Ill 

Confice cum eis, ultimo vero adjiceantur subsequentia. 

Pinearum mundatarum lib. I fi 

Fisticorum, id est, Pistaciorum mundatorum unc. X 

Confice et misce omnia optime et aromatica cum 

Moschi boni drach. I 

The parts of the wolf and skink contained in the formula, 
indicate that the mixture was not merely intended as a philter, 
but served on occasions as a remedy for impotence. Signs, 
offering love-charms and philters, are still to be seen in certain 

154 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

quarters in all large cities, which is evidence that the belief in 
them has not disappeared from nineteenth century civilization. 
Love-lorn maidens still wend their way to the drug-store and 
puzzle a modest clerk with a demand for a " love-powder.'* If 
he were to hand them a coal with the advice of Goethe : 

** Take this coal, with it do thou mark 
His arm, his cloak, or his shoulder ; 
In his heart a pang he'll feel, 
Lut the coal delay not to swallow*. 

** Neither of wine nor of water dare drink. 
And this night at your door he will sigh ; 
This coal from a distant land cometh. 
On a funeral pile it hath reposed " — 

they would leave his store happy and contented, and try the 
experiment at once. Numerous domestic methods are still 
employed to capture and retain the love of others. Many an 
enamored swain in northern Germany still wears about him for 
this purpose the blood of a bat, or the heart of a swallow, or 
he presents his love with an apple that he has carried in his 
arm-pit for sometime. The efficacy of this last endeavor will 
be readily accepted by the adherents of Prof. Jaeger's fragrant 
soul-theory; for, unquestionably, the apple will convey to the 
adored one some particles of the lover's soul-substance — the 
** anthropin," whose presence Jaeger easily demonstrated by 
neuro-analysis with Hipps chronoscope, but which the skeptical 
chemists continue to call by the names kapron, kaprin and 
kapryl acids. 

In contra-distinction to love-provoking methods, a belief in 
love-destroying agents is also current among the people. Thus, 
lovers must not present each other with sharp instruments, such as 
scissors, knives and needles, lest they " cut love." Many similar 
notions, current at the present time, might be cited, but these 
suffice to show how deeply the superstitious notions concerning 
love-charms are rooted in the human mind. Although the old 
forms may have fallen away, the " nameless yearning " contin- 
ually develops new blossoms on the old trunk of superstition. 
These fallacious notions certainly flourished more luxuriantly in 
antiquity, when the exuberant imagination and wanton sensuality 

Pharmacy and Magic of Love. 


had not yet been hedged in by a progressive intellectual culture ; 
still, even in very early days, an occasional warning against the 
foolish belief in love-charms is heard. Ovid has answered the 
question, "What is to be thought of love-philters?" entirely in 
conformity with modern views. 

** This natural process, by help of craft then consummate, 
Dissolveth the Elixir in its unctious humiditie, 
Then in balnco of Mary together let them circulate, 
IJke new honey or oil, till they perfectly thickcd be ; 
Then will that medicine heal all manner infirmity, 
And turn all metal to Sonne and Moone most perfectly. 
Then shall you have both great Elixir and aitriun potahilc^ 
\\y the grace and will of God, to whom be laud eternally." 

Erom verses dedicatory of Geori^e Ripley " The English Alchemy st 
and Canon of BridUnigton^^ addressed to King Edivard IV. 



C^pitr (Bfeoen. 

g|RANSMUTATION of the metals, the dream of the 
alchemists, was abandoned as the wildest of fancies 
after the discovery of the " elements " now recog- 
nized. Spectral analysis has, however, gradually 
aroused suspicion as to the elementary nature of 
these elements, so that the present drift of chemical thought is 
well represented by Mr. Crookes in his address before the British 
Association for the Advancement of Science, when he approv- 
ingly quoted Faraday's words : "To discover a new element is 
a fine thing, but if you could decompose an element, it would be 
a discovery indeed worth making. ... To decompose the metals, 
then to reform them, to change them from one to another, and to 
realize the once absurd notion of transmutation, are the problems 
now given to the chemist for solution." 

The labors of the alchemist are better appreciated to-day 
than they have been for many a decade. The longing for truth 
which inspires modern science, inspired these old votaries of 
knowledge in a degree no less ardent and determined. 

The dreams of the early alchemists were not always of the 
sordid type ascribed to them, although the necessity of securing 
aid from "practical" capitalists led the most sincere to place , 
the "gold-making " side uppermost, just as the scientist of to-day 
dwells on the " practical " results to secure the aid of plutocrats 
who are IndifTerent to the intellectual riches of science. The 
early alchemists assumed the trade practices and designations so 
common in the Middle Ages. The disciples were called " fire 
philosophers " or alchemists, answering to the apprentices of the 

i6o History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

various " crafts " or " mysteries," as all trades were then 
designated ; while the " masters " of the trades became the 
" adepts " of the alchemist. In consonance with the spirit of 
the times these " adepts " assumed the owl-like self-satisfied air 
of concealed wisdom characteristic of those who had reached 
the height of a "master" of a "mystery" or "craft," and 
called themselves ^ik66oq)oi xar eqoxjjy* 

They are usually thought of as old men, but very brief reflec- 
tion dispels this notion. Many of the alchemists did their best 
work before middle age. As alchemy and astrology occupied 
the place that science does to-day, it was but natural that they 
should cast a spell over young and enthusiastic minds. Like 
modern science, alchemy captivated the best and highest circles 
of society. Venerable monks, renowned physicians, illustrious 
university professors, mighty statesmen, pious popes and crowned 
heads were worshippers of alchemy. To it secret hours were 
given in secluded chambers, behind fire-proof laboratory walls, 
where they labored day and night at the "Althanor," as the 
blast-stove of the fire-philosophers was called. 

Alchemy is usually traced to the teachings of Hermes Tris- 
megistos, and is hence called the " hermetic " art. It is certain 
that among the Egyptians chemical studies were a favorite 
pursuit. The Ayrans and the Chinese were also devoted to 
them, and at a very early period they had thereby discovered 
gunpowder. Traces of their teachings and those of the Assyri- 
ans, who also paid much attention to these studies, had been left 
in Central Asia, whence they had been brought to Rome and 

About 400 A. D., the doctrine of the transmutation of metals 
began to assume prominence. The Greek orator, Themistus 
Euphrades, in his eighth speech, incidentally speaks of the 
transmutation of copper into silver and gold as a universally 
accepted fact. Before the intellectual vigor produced by the 
contact of the Crusaders with eastern civilization had begun to 
show itself in Europe, all study was rather quiescent under the 
turmoil of these periods of "storm and stress." Still such studies 
were being pursued, for the works of Geber of Seville, written 
in the ninth century, were too comprehensive to have been the 
first beginning of the science. 

Alchemy : Its Development and Decline, i6i 

From the time of the Crusades all science received an impe- 
tus. Alchemy began to appear prominently in the tenth and the 
eleventh centuries. The English alchemist, Hortulanus, wrote a 
Latin paraphrase of the " Tabula Smaragdina," which was said 
to have originated with Hermes Trismegistos and occupied a 
conspicuous place in the literature of the alchemist. A transla- 
tion of the paraphrase is as follows : 

The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistos. 

These are the words of the secret of Hermes, which were written upon the 
emerald tablet, found in a dark hole where the body of Hermes was buried. 

Discoursing as follows : 

True it is, and without deceit, certainly and truthfully, that which is below 
is also above, and that which is above is made like all things by one thing ; his 
father is Sol and his mother Luna. The wind carried him in its bowels. He 
was nourished by the earth, which is father of all secrets of the world. His 
power is absolute. When turned to the earth, it separates the soil from the fire, 
the subtile from the coarse with great skill. It rises from the earth to the heaven, 
and returns from the heaven to the earth, and takes upon itself the forces of all 
that is high and all that is low. Here you have the essence of the world. All 
poverty and darkness will flee thee, and everything comparable to darkness. 
Therefore am I called Hermes Trismegistus, possessing the three parts of all 
philosophy. All this has come to pass as I have described. 

Much of the seeming obscurity of alchemical literature was 
due to the desire to prevent the feudal barons, and other thieves 
of the period, from seizing on the adepts who thus adopted 
secrecy as a means of protection. This obscurity long remained 
in science, but was over-estimated by the popular miscomprehen- 
sion of the necessity of technical terms. The seeming jargon of 
the alchemists was not greater than that of the early 'anatomists, 
which, while etymologically jargon, has acquired by long-con- 
tinued usage fixity and clearness of meaning. 

The twelfth century witnessed a great development of alchemy 
The. works of -^gidus show that a large literature was being 
accumulated. Albertus Magnus made extensive studies in the 
early part of the thirteenth century. By his chemical labors, 
growing out of the search for the " elixir of life," and the " phi- 
losopher's stone," he paved the way for his great successor, Roger 
Bacon, who attempted to systematize all the knowledge of the 
time. It was left for the nineteenth century to disentomb his 

1 62 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

works from the alcoves of Oxford library, and do his labors 
justice. He really placed the study of chemistry on a firm basis. 
He enthusiastically pursued the search for the " philosopher's 
stone," and the "elixir of life." He introduced gunpowder into 
Europe. Though much of his writings seem obscure, yet it has 
been aptly said by Gordon, "As even happens in more recent 
times, Roger Bacon, in the thirteenth century, concealed much 
useful information under that jargon of languages which was so 
fashionable in that time." Bacon really led the way in modern 
science by insisting on the necessity of experiments in the 
acquirement. In all respects he anticipated the inductive phi- 
losophy of his famous namesake, Francis Bacon. The inductive 
philosophy was the great gift of the alchemists, whose experi- 
ments stood out in bold relief for their usefulness as compared 
with the " word-juggling " of the Scotists and Thomists, who had 
captured the Universities. Raymond Lully wrote several works 
on alchemy during this century, which were accepted authorities. 
His discussion of the " tabula smaragdina," was the " authority" 
on that subject, then one of importance. 

The study of alchemy took on such proportions in the four- 
teenth century that Pope John XXH, who later became a devotee 
of the art, condemned the hermetic art as a diabolical deception, 
and issued a severe bull to restrict its practice. The sincere 
alchemists, however, claimed, — and, judged by the Pope's subse- 
quent career, this claim seems justifiable, — that this bull was issued 
against pretenders and swindlers who were befouling the fair 
fame of alchemy by their tricks. Certainly the bull was taken 
in this sense by priests, for Canon Ripley, of Bridlington, Eng- 
land, in the fourteenth century, wrote an alchemical work, " The 
Six Chemical Portals." He explains that alchemists " purposely 
use mystic language to discourage the fools, for although we 
write primarily for the edification of the disciples of the art, we 
also write for the mystification of those owls and bats that can 
neither bear the splendor of the sun nor the light of the moon. 
On these we practice many cabalistic deceits, which harmonize 
with their ill-favored fantasy." Ripley certainly succeeded in 
his attempt at mystifying his readers, for his formulas are so 
incongruous and contradictory as to be absolutely unintelligible. 
This is well illustrated by the following passage : 

Alchemy: Its Development and Decline, 163 

" The bird of Hermes is my name, 
Eating my wings to make me tame. 
In the sea withouten lesse 
Standeth the bird is Hermes — 
Fating his wings variable, 
And thereby makete himself more stable. 
When all his feathers be agone 
He standeth still there as a stone ; 
Here is now both white and red, 
And also the stone to quicken the dead ; 
All and some, withouten fable, 
Both hard, and nesh, and malleable. 
Understand now well aright. 
And thanke God of this Light." 

Ripley also wrote a " Compound of Alchemy." He was a 
very assiduous student, and thus describes his experience : 

** Many amalgame did I make, 
Wenyng to fix these to grett avayle. 
And thereto sulphur dyd I take ; 
Tarter, eggs whyts, and the oyl of the snayle, 
But ever of my purpose dyd I fayle ; 
For what for the more and what for the lesse, 
Evermore something wanting there was." 

He then gives a long list of ingredients, and concludes : 

" Thus I roastyd and boylyd, as one of Geber's cooks. 
And oft tymes my wynning in the asks I sought ; 
For I was discevyd wyth many false books. 
Whereby untrue thus truly I wrought ; 
But all such experiments avayled me nought ; 
But brought me in danger and in combraunce. 
By losse of my goods and other grevaunce." 

The swindling alchemist early made his appearance, and was 
satirized by Chaucer in his " Canterbury Tales." 

** The priest him busieth, all that ever he can 
To don as this Chanoun, this cursed man, 
Commandeth him, and fast blew the fire. 
For to come to the effect of his desire ; 
And this Chanoun right in the meanwhile 
All ready was this priest eft to beguile. 
And for a countenance in his hand bare 
An hollow stick (take, keep, and beware), 
In the end of which an ounce, and no more. 
Of silver limaille put was as before ; 

1 64 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

"Was in his coal, and stopped with wax well 
For to keep in his limaille every del. 
And while this priest was in his business 
This Chanoun with his stick gave him dresr, 
To him anon, and his powder cast in. 
As he did erst (the devil out of his skin) 
Ilim turn, I pray to God, for his falsehede), 
For he was ever false in thought and deed, 
And with his stick above the crosslet, 
That was ordained with that false get, 
He stirreth the coals, til relenten gan 
The wax again the fire as every man 
But he a fool be, wot well it wote need. 
And all that in the stick was out yede ; 
And in the crosslet hastily it fell.'* 

Norton was an active " adept " in the fifteenth century. His 
"Ordinal," published in 1477, opens thus : 

** Maistryeful, merveilous, and archaimaistrye 
Is the tincture of holy alkimy. 
A wonderful science, secrete philosophic ; 
A singular gift and grace of the Almightie, 
Which never was found by the labour of mann ; 
But by teaching or revelacion begann. 
It was never for money sold or bought, 
By any mann which for it has sought. 
But given to an able mann by grace, 
Wrought with great cost, by long laisir and space. 
It helpeth a man when he hath neede ; 
It voideth vain glory, hope and also dreade ; 
It voideth ambitiousness, extortion and excesse ; 
It fenceth adversity that she doe not oppresse." 

Italy swarmed with alchemists in the fifteenth century. The 
Senate of Venice, in 1468, passed stringent laws prohibiting 
them from further pursuing their vocation. The Nuremburg 
Senate, in 1493, enacted laws for suppressing alchemy. " For 
many people have, by its practice, not only been ruined in purse, 
but have also experienced irreparable injury to their moral 
nature, and have consequently fallen into disgrace." 

In the reign of Henry VI of England, an act was passed 
which ordains "That no one shall henceforth multiply gold or 
silver, nor use the craft of multiplication, because many persons 
by color of this multiplication make false money, to the great 
deceit of the King, and the injury of the people." 

Alchemy : Its Development and Decline. 165 

One of the greatest alchemists of the fifteenth century was 
Basil Valentine, to whom is due the discovery of antimony. The 
following instructions to his disciples show that he was a true 
scientist : 

First, therefore, the name of God ought to be called on religiously with a 
pure heart and sound conscience, without ambition, hypocrisy, and other abuses, 
such as are pride, arrogance, disdain, worldly boasting, and oppression of our 
neighbors, and other enormities of that kind, all of which are to be totally eradi- 
cated out of the heart Whosoever, therefore, hath resolved within him- 
self to seek the top of terrestrials, that is, the knowledge of the good lodging 
in every creature lying dormant, or covered in stones, herbs, roots, seeds, living I 
creatures, plants, minerals, metals, and the like, let him cast behind him all 
worldly cares, and other appurtenances, and expect release with his whole heart ! 
by humble prayer, and his hope shall not fail. Men who began and pursued 
their life-long toil in ihis spirit are not to be spoken of without great respect. 

Emperor Rudolph II, in the sixteenth century, was an ardent 
student of alchemy. He invited alchemists from far and near 
to his court. After his death, in 161 2, 8,400 pounds of gold, and 
6,000 pounds of silver, cast in earthen-pots, were found among 
his effects, which led to the belief that Rudolph II had been an 

Among the leaders of the " Reformation," alchemy acquired 
friends. Luther says : "The art of Alchemy is, in truth and in 
fact, the philosophy of the wise. I think highly of it, not only 
for its inherent virtues and usefulness in the distilling and sub- 
liming of metals, herbs and waters, but also for its grand and 
beautiful similitude to the resurrection of the dead on the day of 
judgment." The swindling type of alchemist became very fre- 
quent in the sixteenth century, and fell under the ridicule of Ben 
Jonson. The real scientist continued his studies, discoveries of 
value followed, and a useful foundation was laid for the advances 
made in the next century. The publication of the works of 
Francis Bacon stimulated the spirit of philosophical research. 
The growing science of astronomy dealt the astrological part of 
alchemy a severe blow, and injured it in the estimation of the 
learned, who had begun to separate the chaff from the wheat. 

Evidences of a growing science of chemistry are discernible 
in the sixteenth century. In 1654 an alchemist's society was 
formed at Nuremburg, with the preacher Daniel Wulfel at its 
head, which remained in existence until 1694. In i666 the great 


1 66 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

philosopher, G. W. Leibnitz, received the degree of doctor of 
laws at Altdorf, and visited savants of Nuremburg, where he 
heard of this society of learned men, who were secretly endeav- 
oring, by chemical experiments, to discover the "philosopher's 

Leibnitz was of an inquisitive turn of mind, and determined 
to gain an insight into chemistry. To secure admission into 
this august circle he devised a clever scheme. He read a num- 
ber of profound chemical works, and collated all obscure words 
and sentences. From these he framed an incomprehensible 
letter, which he sent to the priest, with a petition for admission 
to the secret society. The priest, on reading the letter, con- 
cluded that Leibnitz must be an " adept," and not only intro- 
duced him.iiito the laboratory, but begged him to accept a 
salaried position as secretary, which he did. Leibnitz left 
Nuremberg in 1667, and consequently did not hold this office for 
a great length of time. Traces of his alchemical studies are 
evident in his correspondence concerning Newton. 

The influence of Francis Bacon showed itself in the scientific 
study of alchemy in England during the seventeenth century. 
The " Royal Society " was formed under the protectorate of 
Cromwell, and its effects were visible in the subsequent reign. 
King Charles II, Prince Rupert (of whose chemical studies 
"Prince Rupert's drop" preserves the memory), the Duke of Buck- 
ingham, merchants, and even poets, ardently devoted themselves 
to the labors of the laboratory. Dryden, in his ''Annus Mirabilis," 
glowingly describes the advances made and prophesies others. 
The Marquis of Worcester devises a rude steam engine as a 
result of his studies, and pronounces it a " forcible instrument of 
propulsion." Traces of the infant science of agricultural chem- 
istry are found at this time jis a result of the stimulus then given 
to chemistry. Nor was the hypothesis of the transmutation of 
metals entirely lost sight of in these studies. Newton spent many 
hours in his laboratory working at this problem. In his letters 
to Boyle there are constant references to this pursuit, and to a 
mysterious red earth needed to complete the transmutation. 
Elias Ashmole, the founder of the Ashmolean Museum, took 
occasion to collate the works of the old alchemists in his rare 
book, published in 1652, the ''Theatrum Chemicum Britauni- 

Alchemy : Its Development and Decline, 167 

cum." These labors point to a growing interest in alchemic 
literature. In his preface Ashmole says of himself: 

I must profess I know enough to hold my tongue, but not enough to 
speak, — and the no less real than miraculous fruits I have found in my diligent 
inquiry into this arcana, lead me on to such degrees of admiration they com- 
mand-silence, and force me to loose my tongue. Howbeit there are few stocks 
that are fitted to inoculate the grafts of science upon ; they are mysteries 
uncommunicable to all but adepts, and those that have been devoted from their 
cradle to serve and wait at this altar — and they, perhaps, were, with St. Paul, 
caught up into Paradise, and as he heard unspeakable words — so they wrought 
impossible works. 

Frequent attempts were made to explain and amplify the prin- 
ciples laid down in alchemical works, by the introduction of 
picturesque, obscure and mystical circumlocutions. Poetry, 
music and art were frequently pressed into service. Alchemy is 
expounded by aid of these agents in the " Atalanta fugiens, hoc est 
emblemata nova de secretis naturae chymica. Authore Michaele 
Majero. Oppenheimii, 1618,'* from which Fig. 77, on the title- 
page of this chapter is taken. This illustration is intended' to 
demonstrate the dangers of the search for the " philosopher's 
stone," which is compared to the wooing of the swift-footed, beau- 
tiful Boeotian, Atalanta. According to the myth, she stipulated that 
every suitor must run a race with her, in which he was given a 
start. In case she did not overtake him, she was to be his wife ; 
otherwise he was to die. Many suitors had perished in this 
manner, when Hippomenes, by the aid of Aphrodite, outwitted 
Atalanta. The goddess gave him golden apples, which he drop- 
ped in the path of his pursuer. Atalanta lost so much time pick- 
ing these up, that Hippomenes reached the goal first. He forgot 
to thank the kind goddess, who, in revenge, excited him to such 
vehement manifestations of love, that he embraced his bride in 
the temple of Zeus. To punish this desecration, the lovers were 
turned into lions. The garden of the Hesperides is included in 
this pictorial rendering of the Atalanta legend. In this garden 
the three daughters of night and the hundred-headed cerberus 
watched the golden apples, which Hera had received as a pres- 
ent from Gcea at the time of her marriage with Zeus. Hercules 
secured these apples and brought them to Eurystheus, who re- 
turned them to him. Hercules then presented them to Athena, 
who returned them to the gardens of the Hesperides. Every 

//,-,• -1 , ' /.■.-....v/ /■-. 


1 t Jn T. 

1 e e 

j, ca e p anat n o 
a ! a haj er nd 

a n n La n F cu 
ha ra c p ecef 

- Alchemy : lis Divclopmcnt and Dccliiu 

The notes on following page (Fig. 80) comprise the melody of 
the Latin epigram. This poetico-musico pictorial explanation 
rather conduces to obscurity than to facilitate a solution of the 

The influence which astrology exerted on the figurative 
writings of the alchemists is unmistakeable. Thus there was 

supposed to be a close conformit) between the seven known 
metals and the seven so called planets This belief was earned 
into modern chemistry. Each metal was named after the planet 
upon which it was nominally dependent. Gold was called the 
sun; silver, the moon; iron, mars; mercury, mercury; tin, 
Jupiter; copper, venus ; and lead, saturn. According to the 
alchemists no planet could sulfer a modification without awaken- 
ing the sympathy of the corresponding metal. This sympathy 
was, according to astrologico-alchemistic views, transmitted by 

170 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

infinitely minute bodies, which proceeded from the planets and 
metals. These molecules were so constructed that they could 
readily enter the pores of the corresponding planet or metal, but 
never into those of a foreign body. If by chance they came in 
contact with a foreign body they would not be retained or in 
any event could not serve as nourishment. Each of the seven 

Romu lus hir ta lu px prefniTe (cd uberacaprae 

Jupicer & di dtis £ct tut adelTc fides. 
Romu lushir ta lu par'piefli^ fed ubcra caprc 

Jupicer Zc Ax ^. Ici tur adcffe fides» 

?'t" ^"t""t"^ ^ ^^1^T'^^^^^^¥^ 

Romulus hirca lups prefllile fed ubcra caprar 

Jupicer & di£tis fcrrur adeUe 6des. 

Fig. 80. 

planets had its day of the week on which it manifested its influ- 
ence over its particular metal. To bfe successful all work with 
gold must be begun on Sunday ; with silver, on Monday; with 
iron, on Tuesday, etc. All metals were supposed to contain 
mercury and sulphur. These designations, however, were not 
those of the substances now known by these names, but others 
of an entirely different character, of the nature of which the 
alchemists themselves had no clear conception. Therefore, they 
spoke of them allegorically, or in respect to their activity. 

Alchemy ; Its DevelopmenI and Decline. 

Sulphur (Sulphur philosophorum) was of an almost spiritual 
nature; it was the light, the fire and the combustible matter 
thought to be inherent in all bodies, — the phlogiston of early 
chemistry. It was the male element, and contained the " Punc- 
tum seminale activum " needed in the evolution of new bodies 
and substances. Alchemistic writers refer to it by many different 
names, — "House of the Spirit," "Father," "Elementary Fire," 
"Magical Steel," "Elementary Oil," " Elementary Sulphurous- 

Fig. 8i. 

ness," " Cadmi-blood," "Adamic-earth," " Heart of Saturn," 
etc. The female element required to evolve a new body was 
"Mercurius"; upon it the male, "Sulphur," by intimate con- 
tact, impressed the germ of the object to be evolved. 

" Mercury," the connecting link between spirit and body, 
also known as Encheiresis naturte, was present in the three 
realms of nature. In the mineral kingdom it was "mineral 
moisture." In the animal kingdom, "elementary moisture," 

172 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

upon which depended blood and life ; in the plant kingdom, the 
force or " spiritus mundi," which promoted the growth of the 
plants. By the old fire philosophers it was called " a water which 
does not moisten the hands," a "dry moisture " or the " corporeal 

This peculiar " sulphur ** and the " mercury," either sepa- 
rately or combined in an hermaphrodite being, were called the 
"lapis philosophorum," which was also known as the "universal 
menstruum," the "great magister," the "red tincture," the "secret 
elixir," the " quinta essentia," etc. The philosopher's stone is 
pictured by the alchemists as an hermaphrodite being; "sulphur" 
as the king or sun, and " mercury" as the queen or moon. Fig. 
81 (a wood cut from the "Rosarium Philosophorum," printed by 
Cyriacus Jacobus, at Frankfurt, in 1550), shows the father and 
the mother of the hermaphrodite stone, in the act of uniting. 
The stone itself is allegorically represented in figure 82. To 
indicate the enigmatical character of this being, it is surrounded 
by the animals that took part, according to the allegory, in the 
formation of the stone. In honor of the latter, the following 
verse is appended to this picture, called the " -Enigma Regis." 

** Here a king is born indeed. 
None can boast of nobler breed ; 
Formed he was by art or nature, 
His birth he owes to no known creature. 
Of philosophers he is the son, 
Of their power an incarnate one ; 
Health and life he freely gave, 
And every wish that man may crave ; 
Silver, gold and gems so rare, 
Youth and strength and all that's fair ; 
From him flee anger, grief and pains, 
Whoe'er from God this gift obtains. 

Thus, the philosopher's stone, not only changed metals into 
gold, but, according to some, could change any substance into 
gold, cure all diseases, and control, renew and rejuvenate animal 


Every alchemist goes into raptures over the " quinta essen- 
tia," the soul of the four elements. The alchemists, Artephius 
and .Cagliostro, claimed to have lived over one thousand years 
by the aid of this elixir. Ripley lauds its medicinal virtues in a 

Alchemy : Its Development and Decline. 


rapturous style, calling it the greatest medicine in the world. He 
declares " It is the true tree of life, which gratifies all desires of 
the person possessing it. It rejuvenates, retards old age, strength- 
ens and restores health. It will not only produce a new growth 
of hair, but, properly applied, will prevent hair from turning 

Fig. 8z. 



gray." The " quinta essentia," which was sold at a high price 
under the name of "aurum potabile," was, for the most part, 
golden-yellow vegetable tinctures of about the same value as the 
" infallible hair restorers " of the barber. 

Diverse methods were adopted to secure the great desid- 
eratum. Some alchemists sought the philosopher's stone in 

174 History of Ancifnt Pharmacy, 

honey, manna, sugar or wine ; others in vegetables, like rose- 
mary and marquory, or in gums, blood, urine or excrements. 
Some sought it in may-dew and rainwater. Astrologists went to 
the extent of imprisoning the sun's rays, and attempting to cal- 
cine and powder them. The rays were supposed to consist of 
pure golden sparks, which contained the seed of gold. The dead 
were not allowed to rest in the grave. From their decaying 
bodies saltpetre was extracted, which was regarded as the soul 
of the philosopher's stone, — the " true microcosm." 

Other fire philosophers considered various kinds of earth ; for 
example, marl, as the " chaos " from which God made the world, 
and sought for the seed of all things, the " panspermion," in the 
earth itself. This seed was thought to be a formless, peculiar 
being, which possessed the power to create all things, gold being 
the most distinguished. 

Opposed to these theories was a party headed by Raymond 
Lully and Basil Valentine, who boldly asserted that the light ot 
Nature was but the light of an ignis fatuus or glow-worm. This 
party had for the cardinal principle in their philosophy, " Omne 
simile suum simile," and consequently sought the seed of gold in 
gold itself. They considered other metals as merely furnishing 
a fruitful soil in which the gold seed was sown, and which would, 
by a process of interstitial displacement, develop and grow like 
a plant. For purposes of fructification, it was thought essential 
to steep golden seed in its own moisture. This gold-like 
moisture, called " metallic water," was no doubt mercury. It 
was not, however, the common marketable article, "but only 
such as had been skillfully extracted from the objects in which 
it is found in nature. The * Mercurius philosophorum ' is not 
found on the face of the earth, but, as Philaletha says, * is the 
son that is prepared by us.' " The purification of mercury, 
essential to its union with gold to form the philosopher's stone, 
is given much attention in alchemistic literature. Numerous for- 
mulas for mercurial compounds are given, from which purified 
mercury can be obtained. The " Hermetic Philosophy " of John 
d'Espagnet, gives a formula for preparing mild mercury chloride, 
which does not materially differ from the modern process. The 
descriptive part, however, is so characteristic of the times, that 
it merits reproduction here : 

Alchemy: Its Development and Decline, 175 

" The eagle and the lion, after being thoroughly cleansed, are put together 
in a transparent reservoir. This is tightly closed, so that their breath cannot 
escape, or air enter from without. The eagle will dismember and eat the lion : 
and when his stomach is swollen, and he has become dropsical, he will, by a 
wonderful transformation, be changed into a coal-black raven, which will grad- 
ually spread its feathers and begin to fly, and shake water from the clouds until 
he has become wet several times, lost his feathers, and finally fallen to the 
bottom, when he will be changed into a snow-white swan." 

The "eagle" is the volatile mercury, which, combined with 
the "lion," or mercuric chloride, produces the black compound, 
" the raven," from which the mild mercury chloride, the white 
swan, is made by sublimation from a glass retort, to which an 
air-tight receptacle has been adjusted, after the surplus of mer- 
cury, here called "water," has become separated. The purifi- 
cation and sublimation of mercury was repeated seven times. 
The seed gold had to be cleansed an equal number of times 
before it was amalgamated. The gold was to battle with the 
seven eagles of the philosophical " arsenic," and then unite 
itself with the two doves of Diana. The eagles indicate the 
mercurial volatility of the metal used, called "philosophical 
arsenic " (properly speaking, antimony), with which the gold 
was to be melted seven times. This is an old method for purify- 
ing gold. By the heating process the foreign metals and admix- 
tures which frequently accompany the gold are slaked with the 
antimony and a little saltpetre, whilst the pure gold, the king of 
metals, subsides to the bottom of the crucible. 

"But before the gold is mixed with its water it must be 
reduced to the finest powder possible or it will withstand solu- 
tion." To reduce gold to this fine powder it was, according to 
an old formula, melted with two parts of silver, called by the 
alchemists, the two doves from Diana's forest, that is, the metallic 
kingdom, and this alloy was treated with nitric acid. The 
silver was dissolved by the acid, and the gold remained 
undissolved in the acid as a very fine powder, although still 
somewhat contaminated by small particles of silver. This gold 
powder, which the alchemists believed to be absolutely pure, 
readily united with mercury under the influence of a gentle heat, 
and it was this mixture which represented the " true hermaphro- 
dite," whose male generic element descended from the most 
perfect of metals, and whose female force is a delicate mineral 

176 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

whiteness. It was supposed to contain the egg from which the 
"philosopher's stone " was developed. 

To this end a glass retort was filled with the amalgam, placed 
in a nest-like contrivance on a stove, and subjected to a gentle, 
even heat for nearly a year, " because it also takes a kernel of 
wheat that length of time to develop and produce new kernels." 
The " stone " was not to be disturbed during this process of devel- 
opment, as its incipient vitality might thus be easily destroyed. 
During the first three months, its embryonic period, it was kept at 
an animal temperature. At the end of this time it had changed into 
white ** magisterium," and could change baser metals into silver. 
The temperature was then gradually raised in five stages of vari- 
able duration, during which time the stone changed color like a 
chameleon. From the original black raven, which had changed 
into a white dove, a Tyrian purple color was to result, which was 
the true " philosopher's stone." " Projection " (sprinkling it on 
molten metal), would change a metal into gold. Ripley says 
that one grain could change one hundred ounces of mercury into 
the so-called red tincture, and calculates that with this exactly 
119,010^ pounds of mercury could be changed into gold. 

Raymond Lully, during his sojourn in London, is said to have 
transformed 50,000 pounds .of mercury into gold for King 
Edward III, from which the first rose-nobles were coined. The 
credibility of this story, gravely related by the Abbe Cremer, 
receives a severe shock, when, in spite of this abundant supply 
of gold, King Edward III is forced to increase the taxes to carry 
on his war against France, and to coin money from his own and 
the queen's crown, and from the gold vessels of churches and 

Koehler, in 1744, related in his numismatical work, that the 
Emperor Frederic III, although not a disciple of alchemy, 
changed, on January 15, 1648, at Prague, three pounds of mer- 
cury into two and one-half pounds of gold by means of one grain 
of a red powder, given him by a man named Richthausen. He 
created this man a Baron of Chaos, and from the gold a medal 
was made which bore an inscription referring to the artificial 
origin of the gold. This medal was long preserved in the Vienna 

Urban Hjcerne, a renowned chemist of his day, reports a 

Alchemy : Its Development and Decline. 177 

similar case of transformation from Sweden. The Saxon lieu- 
tenant, Paykull, was taken prisoner by Charles XII, at Warsau, 
in 1705, and condemned to death. He promised to make one 
million dollars worth of gold each year, if his life were spared. 
Paykull changed lead into gold by means of a tincture, rendered 
fire-proof by the addition of antimony, sulphur and saltpetre. In 
the presence of Hamilton, the master of ordnance, Paykull, with 
an ounce of this mixture, changed six ounces of lead into gold. 
To make a counter-test, Hamilton mixed the powders at home. 
Paykull next day added some of the tincture, and the whole was 
melted together with a quantity of lead. Gold to the value of 
one hundred and forty-seven ducats was secured. Out of this 
gold medals of two-ducat weight were coined, and inscribed as 
follows: "Hoc aurum arte chemica conflavit Holmise, 1706. 
O. A. V. Paykull." Paykull, despite his skill, was executed. 

The gold- makers, though for the most part, generous and in- 
dustrious, devoting themselves to the "enrichment of others, rather 
than themselves, frequently met a cruel fate. George Honauer 
promised to transform thirty-six hundred weight of iron into 
gold for the Prince of Wirtemburg. The prince detected a boy, 
who had been concealed in the laboratory, in the act of putting 
gold into the crucible. He thereupon ordered a gallows to be 
constructed of iron from which the false gold-maker was hung 
in 1597. In 1606 a gold-maker, named Andreas von Muehlen- 
dorf, was hung at Stuttgart on this same gallows, which gained 
further repute in 1738, by its services in the execution of minister 
Joseph Suess, who knew, without the aid of the " hermetic art," 
better than " adepts," how to make gold. 

Chr. Wm. Krohnemann, in 1677, entered the service of the 
Marquis of Brandenburg, with the rank of colonel. In a short 
time he won a high reputation as a gold-maker, and was rapidly 
promoted to the directorship of the mint and mines. From gold 
ostensibly made by Krohnemann, seven different medals were 
coined, which are pictured and described in the "Book of Odd 
Historical Coins," published in 1771. Figure 83, taken from this 
book, represents the first, the largest and rarest specimen in 
the Krohnemann numismatic cabinet. On the obverse is a 
fettered Mercury, who holds in his hand a staff, terminating in a 
sun, emblematic of gold. The whole figure serves as an alchem- 

History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

istic sytnbo). It is surrounded by a Latin dedicatory inscription to 
"Margrave Christian Ernst, 1677." The reverse bears a Latin 
inscription to the following efEect : " Let it be known to all, that 

Fig. 83, 


what by many is supposed to be the work of nature only, can 
also be accomplished by art. This product is witness thereor, to 
the honor of God, for the well-being of thy neighbor and the 

Alchemy : lis Development and Decline, 179 

admiration of the wide world." The last coin made by Krohne- 
mann was a small medal dedicated to Margravess Sophia Louise, 
of Brandenburg, in 1681. After this medal had been coined, 
Krohnemann was suspected of deception, and imprisoned in 
1 68 1, in the Plassenburg citadel. He continued his experiments 
until 1686, when he escaped. He was recaptured, tried and 
found guilty of having abstracted gold and silver ware from the 
Margrave's treasury, for use in his deception. As it was also 
proven that he unlawfully cohabited with his jaileress, he was 
condemned to be hanged for fraud, theft and adultery. In the 
course of the trial it was demonstrated that Krohnemann had 
worked according to a formula in general use among the alchem- 
ists of his day. Berzelius, in his text-book, thus describes it : 

** Mercury, verdigris, vitriol and salt are digested with strong vinegar in an 
iron-pot, and stirred with an iron-rod until the mass takes on the consistency of 
butter. The remaining liquid, which is an amalgam of copper, is pressed 
through leather, and then put into a crucible with even parts of curcuma and 
tutia, whereupon the crucible is heated by a blast. The curcuma reduces the 
tutia, which is an impure oxide of zinc, and the copper in the amalgam unites 
with the zinc to form brass. Krohnemann surreptitiously added gold ; hence 
his product was an alloy of copper, gold and zinc." 

A quack named Daniel supplied Italian apothecaries with a 
wonderful gold-powder called "Usufur." Pretending that the 
art of compounding this usufur with other drugs was a mystery 
known only to himself, he directed his patients not to permit the 
apothecaries to mix the ingredients of his prescriptions, but to 
buy them (including the usufur), and bring them to him for com- 
pounding. His "art*' consisted in compounding the drugs, but 
omitting the golden " usufur," in which manner he succeeded in 
having restored to him the gold-powder, which he had pre- 
viously sold at a high price. The powder soon became famous 
under the shrewd practices of the quack, who finally offered to 
teach Duke Cosmos II, of Florence, the art of making gold. He 
asked the duke himself to buy the " usufur " at a drug-store, and 
with this the experiment was of course a success. After the 
duke had repeatedly succeeded in making gold according to 
directions, he paid Daniel 20,000 ducats, who thereupon fled 
beyond the border to France, whence he wrote the duke how he 
had been victimized. 

Alchemy was practiced at the Sa>on court during the reiga 

i8o History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

of Prince August (1553 to 1586), who had the reputation of an 
" adept." One of his collaborators, David Benter, after many 
trials, failed to produce gold, whereupon he was imprisoned on 
the strength of an opinion rendered by the highest court of 
justice at Leipzig. Having written on the walls of his cell, 
" Caged cats catch no mice ; " and having renewed his promises, 
he was released to renew his experiments. He lost faith in his 
ability to prove his pretensions, and poisoned himself, which 
probably saved him the fate of John Hector von Kletten- 
berg, a Saxon alchemist, decapitated in 1620. Count Cajetan, 
in 1705, in the presence of Frederic I of Prussia, changed, by 
means of his red tincture, one pound of mercury into gold. He 
did not keep his promise of making six million dollars of gold in 
six weeks, and in 1709 was hanged, draped in gold leaf, which 
became the customary method of dealing with alchemists. 

The numerous deceptions practiced in connection with the 
philosopher's stone, explain the solemn oaths of witnesses of 
known integrity, whose testimony would otherwise be unimpeach- 
able, but who were in reality themselves duped and deceived. 
Contemporaneous writers did not fail to remonstrate against 
alchemistic pretensions, and vigorously expose their fallacy. The 
enlightened Parisian apothecary, Nicol. Lemery, in his " Cours 
de Chimie," calls alchemy satirically, " Ars sine arte, cujus prin- 
cipium mentiri, medium laborare et finis mendicare." — " An art- 
less art, whose beginning is a lie, whose middle is work, and 
whose end is poverty." 

Although the old fire-philosophers failed to realize their ulti- 
mate hope, their labors were not entirely in vain. The belief in 
the feasibility of metal transmutation stimulated wide research 
in the domain of nature. The search for the philosopher's 
stone revealed truths which form the basis of modern chem- 
istry, which has been infinitely more successful than its parent, 
alchemy, in filling with gold the coffers of its disciples. For 
paving the way to this result, a debt of gratitude is due to 
alchemy. In spite of the numerous deceptions practiced by the 
impostors among its disciples, sympathy must be felt with the 
sincere alchemists in contemplating their indomitable courage 
and patience in the presence of centuries of repeated failures 
and disappointments. Lord Bacon says : 

Alchemy : Its Dtvelopmcnt and Decline. i8i 

** The alchemist goes on with an eternal hope, and where his 
matters succeed not, lays the blame upon his own errors, and 
accuses himself as having not sufficiently understood either the 
terms of his art, or his author ; whence he either hearkens out 
for traditions and auricular whispers, or else fancies he made 
some mistake as to the exact quantity of the ingredients, or 
nicety of the experiment ; and thus repeats the operation with- 
out end. If, in the meantime, among all the chances of experi- 
ments, he throws any which appear either new or useful, he feeds 
his mind with these as so many earnests ; boasts and extols them 
above measure ; and conceives great hopes of what is behind. 
* Now the marriage is consummated ! ' he exclaims ; the * philoso- 
pher's stone is found,' only to be again deceived. To-day, trans- 
ported with wild ecstacy ; to-morrow, dejected by utter despair. 
Thus oscillating, he plodded through life, until kind death stepped 
in to put an end to his weird fancies." His epitaph was written 
by Spenser, and none could be more to the point : 

** To lose good days that might be better spent, 
To waste long nights in pensive discontent ; 
To spend to day, to put back to morrow ; 
To feed on hope, to pine with fear and sorrow ; 
To fret his soul with crosses and with cares, 
To eat his heart through comfortless despairs : 
Unhappy wight ! born to disastrous end. 
That did his life in tedious tendance spend." 

Early in the eighteenth century the passion for making gold 
still prevailed ; but, at the close of the century it lost ground 
fast, and was swept away by the new chemistry, which regarded 
the metals as elements. Concerning one of the last true believers 
in the "hermetic art," Peter Woulfe, Mr. Brande* says: "He 
occupied chambers in Barnard's inn, while residing in London, 
and usually spent the summer in Paris. His rooms, which were 
extensive, were so filled with furnaces and apparatus, that it was 
difficult to reach his fireside. A friend told me that he once put 
down his hat, and never could find it again, such was the confu- 
sion of boxes, packages and parcels that lay about the chamber. 
His breakfast hour was four in the morning; a few of his select 
friends were occasionally invited to this repast, to whom a secret 

^Quarterly Review, Vol. XXVI. 

1 82 History of Ancient Pharmacy. 

signal was given, by which they gained entrance. He had long 
vainly searched for the elixir, and attributed his repeated failures 
to the want of due preparation by pious and charitable acts. I 
understand that some of his apparatus is still extant, upon which 
are supplications for success, and for the welfare of adepts. 
Whenever he wished to break an acquaintance, or felt himself 
offended, he resented the supposed injury by sending a present 
to the offender, and never seeing him afterward. These presents 
were sometimes of a curious description, and consisted usually 
of some expensive chemical product or preparation. .He had an 
heroic remedy for illness ; when he felt himself seriously indis- 
posed, he took a place in the Edinburgh mail, and, having reached 
that city, immediately came back in the returning coach to Lon- 
don. A cold taken on one of these expeditions, terminated in 
an inflammation of the lungs, of which he died in 1805. 

" About the same time another solitary adept starved in Lon- 
don. He was an editor of an evening journal, and expected to 
compound the * alcahest,' if he could only keep his materials 
digested in a lamp-furnace for seven years. The lamp burnt 
brightly for six years, eleven months, and some odd days, then 
unluckily it went out. Why it went out the adept could never 
guess ; but he was certain that if the flame would only have 
burnt to the end of the septennary cycle, his experiment must 
have succeeded." 

The race of alchemists of the type of Krohnemann is not 
entirely extinct, for, in 1880, an American called Wise, duped a 
member of the Rohan family, and a collateral descendant of the 
" necklace cardinal," whom Cagliostro so deceived, by pretend- 
ing to make gold. The first specimen made in Rohan's presence 
was tested and proved pure. Rohan was not permitted to be 
present at the process of "projection." Wise got a considerable 
sum from Rohan, and then decamped. 

Alchemy : Its Development and Decline. 183 

Later Alchemistic Symbols. 

From the primitive symbolism of alchemy grew up the com- 
plicated system seen in the following table, which gave way in its 
turn to the chemical symbolism of to-day : 

-j- Acetum .Vinegar. 

4" " destillatum Distilled Vinegar. 

A Aer Air. 

Aerugo Greenspar. 

O Alumen Alum. 

Q Ammoniac • Ammoniac. 

O Antimonium Antimony. 

y Aqua Water. 

Sf Aqua fortis Nitric Acd. 

V? " Regis Nitro Hydrochloric Acid. 

.#i Arena Sand. 

D Argentum Silver. 

0-0 Arsenic Arsenic. 

00 Auripigmentum Orpiment. 

O Aurum Gold. 

y Baryta Barium. 

O J^ismuthum Bismuth. 

O Borax Borax. 

A/ Calcium Calcium. 

ii» Camphora Camphor. 

© Caput Mortuum , Skull. 

2B Cancer Crab. 

(A) Carbo Charcoal. 

'^ Cineres ClavcUaii Potash. 

L-j-J Cinis Ash. 

33 Cinnabaris Cinnabar. 

XII© Crystalli Crystal. 

9 Cuprum, Venus Copper. 

9 Detur Let it be given. 

di Detur Signetur Let it be given and write. 

C/ Dies Day. 

CT Ferrum Iron. 

B Herba Herb. 

X Hora Hour. 

184 History of Ancient Pharmacy, 

A Ignes Fire. 

^ Lapis Stone. 

^ Magnesi Magnesia. 

^ Menstruum Menstruum. 

^ Mercurius Mercury. 

^R Mistura Mixture. 

(J) Nitrum Saltpetre. 

P Nox Night. 

00 Oleum /Etherum Ethereal Oil. 

&e Oxymel Oxymel. 

^ Phosphorus Phosphorus. 

30 Platinum Platinum. 

"^ Plumbum Lead. 

=3^ Praecipitatum Precipitate. 

^ Praeparare Prepare Powders. 

5y Pulv. Pulvis Powder. 

t^ p Regulus Regulus. 

(^ Retorta Retort. 

Sal Salt. 

OXOX Sal Ammoniacum Sal Ammoniac. 

% Sal Medium Middle Salt. 

Cy? Sal Tartari Cream of Tartar. 

CD Sapo Soap. 

Ji Semis Half. 

-'^- Spiritus Spirit. 

^y Spirit Vini Alcohol. 

^ " •• Rectificatus Rectified Alcohol. 

■yjjj •• " Rectificatissumus Double Rectified Alcohol. 

Ti Stannum Tin. 

ri:= Sublimare ; Sublime. 

^ Sulphur Sulphur. 

c^ Tartarus Tartar. 

^ Terre Earth. 

yr Terra Foliata Leaf Earth. 

J{ Tinctura Tincture. 

CD Urina Urine. 

01 Vitriolum Vitriol. 

)^ Vitrum Glass. 

A Volatile Volatile. 

O Zincum Zinc. 


Ls 1913